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Blood Transfusion and 48 Hours to Go



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My goodness! What a ride! My partner is scheduled for banding this coming Monday, June 23rd. We very nearly had a delay in getting the procedure approved by her insurance, as I previously posted, and that was solved. This Tuesday she went in for the pre-surgery consult with the anesthesiolgist and was told she was anemic, and he wouldn't do the surgery until her Iron level was up. I appreciate the care these folks are taking (I imagine this isn't always the case, especially if people are paying out of their own pockets), but she was halfway through her 10-day liquid diet when she was told this. :smile: Her surgeon said she could either wait a couple more months and try to get her Iron up or have a transfusion. She's always been a bit anemic, and so she chose the transfusion (2 units).

They made it sound like it would only take a couple of hours. Not! :smile: She went in yesterday morning at 8:00 a.m. for type and cross, got up to the special care unit at around 9:30, and then was there until a bit after 7:00 last night. Naturally, she had only her morning Protein shake with her, since she figured she'd be home for "lunch." Meanwhile, I was trying to wrap up all my cases (I'm a senior law advocate) so that everything would be ready since I was going to be off next week.

At 11:00, my partner called me. She was still on the first unit of blood with no end in sight, and there was nothing for her to eat. They had no Protein shakes, and she needs to have soy-based shakes, and no Soup that was just liquid. So my leisurely day of preparation turned into a scramble to get home, make her a shake, and drive down to the hospital. I made it just before 2:00, and she was still on the first unit of blood. Bless the folks there, though. They were great. I was able to sit with her and chat; the nurses were nothing short of fabulous. I saw people coming in for all kinds of things, coumadin, chemotherapy, etc. I was a able to go get her hot Water for chicken broth and tea for myself and some Tomato Soup later in the evening (she had to eat around any chunks very carefully).

My partner was a saint. They had to stick her nine times to get the IV in because her veins were small. :redface: The nurses figured it might have been due to dehydration caused by the liquid diet. (She's going to be pounding fluids for the next two days.) It wasn't a comfortable procedure for her. She is off to a music festival today, and when I told her I was worried that she wouldn't have the proper food and/or would be tempted to eat something she shouldn't she told me it wasn't worth going through another transfusion to blow her diet. Bless her heart, she's been a trooper. She got on the scale today, and she's lost 11+ pounds already.

So tomorrow, we're going to make sure that everything is completely prepared for her. Then she wants to spend some time in the garden. I'm looking forward to just enjoying the day with her, since next week is going to be tough for both of us while she stays in bed and I take care of her.

Whew! I don't know how it is for other family members, but I'm finding that this is exhausting. I haven't been cooking anything when she's home so that the smell won't drive her nuts, and I've lost three pounds myself (those salads will do that to you). We did have a laugh yesterday, though, while she was getting her transfusion. I hadn't eaten lunch, so I went down to the little cafeteria and got some toast and cottage cheese and a banana. She looked so longingly at the banana, that I told her to stop ogling it. We had to laugh at that one.

BadgerMom

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Wow, you both are going through a lot. It is great that you are there for her. I would also have gone through the transfusion route rather than putting it off for months. I am surprised they did not catch the anemia problem earlier so that you could have started combatting in other ways instead of something so drastic a couple of days before surgery.

I think you will find that your partner will not be bed ridden next week. In fact, the more walking she gets the better off she will be. The things my husband needed to help me out with the most during the first week was massage (there can be left shoulder and neck pain) and he changed all of the bandages when needed and he was there for moral support. It was not hard to get around for me, only I got tired easily and did sleep a little more than usual.

Best of luck to you both :0) It is such a wonderful journey and sooo worthwhile.

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Wow, what a lot to go through! I had no idea getting a blood transfusion was so involved.... and to have to devote a day to it in the middle of preparing for surgery and preparing for time off from work.... a lot of added stress!

I agree with your previous noter, I doubt your partner will be bedridden next week. I didn't even have anyone stay with me the first night and I was fine, I stayed up watching tv, walking, and playing on the computer until almost midnight! Fatigue caught up with me the next day and I slept a lot but I also walked a lot (the more you walk, the faster you heal and get rid of gas). We're all different and she just might need more rest than some of us but I bet you'll both be surprised how active she'll be.

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you are both very luck to have each other. It is great that you are so willing to be there. That will be somehting that will make your bond stronger with everything. God Luck with the banding on Monday.

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When they give people blood they give it slowly, usually over 4 hours per unit. That way if there is any adverse reaction they can stop the blood before a whole lot has been transfused---it's a safety issue....

I'm glad it all worked out!

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I hope she won't be in bed all week. If that's the case you may be visiting her in the hospital when she's admited with pneumonia. I just had my surgery on Wednesday June 18 and I went and played mini golf Saturday night. My friend had to get the ball out of the hole for me because bending over that far still isn't very comfortable but other than that no problems. I was also walking around the mall shopping on Friday.

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Well, she's going to be in the hospital overnight, so she won't be home until Tuesday, but we live in a lovely town here in Wisconsin where walking around the block is a real pleasure. Everyone seems to suggest walking (how fortunate for me that this list exists, and with so many experts to ask questions of!), so that's what we'll do. Maybe we could walk down to the library and get some videos - it's about two blocks - and come back. I guess power-walking is out, eh? :ohmy:

Her energy has been fine, even on the liquid diet, and if she goes through this like she did with her gall bladder, she should have almost no pain. We're going to take the "before" pictures today. She went to the music festival yesterday and there were two other women who had been banded there and were giving a workshop. They live in the local area and have a support group, so in addition to the group she will have through the hospital and this website, she will also have another source of support. She feels, and I agree, that psych support is critical for her ultimate success. We're lucky in that the doctor has an entire team - surgeon, psychologist, nutritionist who work with the patient to continue treatment after the surgery for as long as she needs it.

BadgerMom

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