J: I am transfused

I had two units of blood put into me at the RUH today.

We’ve been waiting for this for a couple of weeks now. The hospital called on Friday night and said they had a cancellation for today, Wednesday.

They wanted bloods done on Monday so they would get the results on Tuesday. Once again our local surgery, though fully booked, once again squeezed me in to squeeze some out. Our surgery is starting to show signs of being more pressured these days, like many. The nurse who I saw had actually come back from retirement to help out.

The hospital had said they were unsure if I’d need two units or three, but to come at 10am and it would take 4 or 6 hours accordingly.

I assumed I’d be put in a bed but instead went into an oncology day care area after waiting about an hour. There were about 20 people packed in there – all in armchairs and all having transfusions bar a few having IV chemo. That’s just the Oncology outpatients so there must be a lot of blood flowing in that hospital each day.

I’ve not had a transfusion before and thought they might have to take blood out to balance what goes in. Not the case – it was only 324ml per unit so over 4 hours – the body must adjust. 324ml is not apparently a standard dose – it is custom tweaked though the bags all looked the same size. Similarly, though I learnt I was O positive, they seem to monkey around a bit with the mix (I suppose such things as haemoglobin and plasma) depending on what you need. My starting haemoglobin count was 87 which is still high but I did not see the CRP count.

Our son kindly dropped me off and picked me up after what was a pretty boring day really. I’ve been reading Roger Bootle’s The Trouble with Markets which is a very good tome on the last crash and kept me busy as well as giving me the satisfaction of confirming my prejudices. None of the patients needed extra care today so no histrionics though I had to fend off some boomers with Mahler’s 2nd in the earphones and a bit of Fleetwood Mac in the afternoon. I get very sore sitting down a lot (as I have to do) so that was a literal and figurative pain but bearable.

So, transfused and also transformed? Not really I’m afraid, no skipping like a new born lamb, but it’s good to know that the old blood can only be better.

There may be time for another transfusion before the hip op. The Fracture ward said they would do it if necessary. I’ll call Mr. Bishay’s secretary tomorrow on the apparent grounds of letting them know I’ve had the transfusion but with the real purpose, of course, of chasing a new operation date.