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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Harvest

It made for a busy day.  My alarm clock woke me up at 6.30am.  I was not allowed breakfast so I went straight into the shower before dressing in my hospital garb.  Yes, I do have clothes I wear just for the hospital.  There is no room for fashion when dressing for the hospital.  For me, it involves a t-shirt, loose fitting sweater, tracksuit pants, comfy socks and running shoes.

After dressing it was time to have my last neupogen shot before heading to the hospital with my mother.  My first appointment was with interventional radiology.  Which I guess id a nice way of saying they want to do something nasty to you while taking an x-ray at the same time.  I was here to have my temporary catheter inserted in my chest.  I wanted to video tape it, but the set up was exactly like a real operating room, so I wasn't able to bring my bloggie.

Like the bone marrow transplant, there was no pain during the procedure but it was uncomfortable.  You wouldn't do this for fun either.  Once we got there we were asked to wait in a holding room whilst we filled out all the mandatory paperwork (again).  We were then consulted by the nurse and the doctor came around.  Luckily for me I was the first cab off the rank that day so there was virtually no waiting.  Before I knew it I was being trollied around level four of the Galter building to the operating suite.

Once there the room was very busy with the prominent exception of one kind of important individual, the doctor was not there.  However, he was not far away so the nurses started busying themselves preparing me for the procedure.  Again I found myself talking about the usual rubbish in order to keep my mind off the procedure.  After they had laden me in antibacterial and sterilising solution it was time to get the show on the road.

Normally the doctors prefer to put the catheter in the right shoulder, but since the wires for my neural stimulator run down the right side of my neck into my chest, they decided to go in the other side.  I wasn't too unhappy about that.  They then moved the x-ray machine over my chest which looked like some UFO from a sic-fi movie.  The doctor had me turn my head away while he worked so I could not see a thing.  It felt like a lot of pulling and pushing, but after about ten minutes he was done and I had three delightful tubes protruding from my neck.

They had me sit in the recovery area for about ten minutes before letting me go and then it was down two floors to the blood centre.  Before they got started they had to draw some blood to test.  While I waited for the results they told me to go and get some breakfast which I was quite happy about as hunger had certainly started to take hold.  I have to say though that the cafe at North Western Hospital does not do a very good breakfast.  After which I felt myself feeling a little worse.  The local anaesthetic in my shoulder was starting to wear off and pain was beginning to proliferate.  So we headed back to the blood centre where we were immediately shown through to our apheresis room.

The nurse checked the catheter site and adjusted the taping.  She then gave me some Tylenol and we were good to go.  She connected up the apheresis machine, which looked more like a computer from a bad 1960's space movie and away we went.  Video and pictures will follow later.  I then sat back and relaxed as the four hours of blood processing began.  The main symptom I had during the process was tingling in my face and teeth.  This is because the calcium in your body is slowly leached, so to counter this they gave me a supplement via the IV.

Tick, tock, tick, tock........  The time seemes to pass by very slowly.  Luckily I had Ferris Beuler to keep me company as I snailed my way through this endeavour.  And what a great movie.  Any self respecting 80's kid has to have it in their top ten.

When it was all done the catheter line could come out, and an apple juice and half an hour later I was ready to go.  Upon completion I would have to say that I did not feel that bad, but certainly not 100%.  I was mildly feverish, had a headache and felt extremely warn out, so it was back to the hotel for a sleep and some food and I felt much better.  Until next time, stay well:)

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