Live Blogging from the Chemo Chair: Cycle 3.3, Transfusion City

For the second time this week, I’m at the Chemo Cafe. And we’re at the half-way point for my treatments! Nine down! Nine to go!

Live blogging from the chemo chair.

Live blogging from the chemo chair.

In case you missed the excitement on Tuesday, my blood count was so low that Nurse Janna was unable to give me my chemo cocktail. Instead, she arranged for me to indulge in chemo’s version of a Bloody Mary: a blood transfusion.

Yep. That's a bag of blood.

Yep. That’s a bag of blood.

I got two units of blood yesterday morning, and today I feel like a million bucks!

Bless her! Cindy stuck with me for the entire 4 hours it took for the transfussion.

Bless her! Cindy stuck with me for the entire 4 hours it took for the transfusion.

(Lest we loose track of my ongoing Chemo Restaurant Tour, after my pair of Bloody Marys, Cindy and I went and had pancakes at The Golden Nugget. Mine were buttermilk and I ate every bite.)



This is the first time I’ve ever had a transfusion, and there is something just a little disturbing about having two bags of blood pumped into me. You hear so many stories about people contracting any number of incurrable diseases or having allergic reactions because of blood transfusions. It can’t help but make you pause to ask, “Is this really necessary?” Well, yeah, it is. Gemma Chemo is an indiscrimminate killer, and while she’s bombing Siggy, she’s been nuking my red blood cells to the point where I was not able to walk across the room without feeling out-of-breath. So, get over the feeling of weirdness, and be grateful for the miracle  of modern science that allows the nurse to pump me up with blood.

Blood traveling down the tube connecting me to the blood bag.

Blood traveling down the tube connecting the blood bag to me.

The process of getting a blood transfusion is complicated, for your protection. First the lab draws blood to make sure of your blood type. Then they put a hospital bracelet on you which has a code number on it to “unlock the blood bank.” You cannot remove the bracelet — it must be attached to your wrist when you present yourself for the transfusion (I had to wear that stupid bracelet overnight). The bag of blood is secured within another bag, and kept in cold storage until needed (and it felt cold going into my body). To access the bag of blood, the code number from the hospital bracelet is dialed into a “lock” that covers the opening of the outer bag. This is done under the watchful eyes of two nurses. The nurses then double check patient’s name, birthdate, blood type, doner number, lot number and I-don’t-remember-what-else to make sure that the blood they’re about to put into the patient is the right stuff. So much checking, double-checking, and security is a good thing, but it reinforced my anxiety about how many things could go wrong when another person’s blood was pumped into me. But….it’s necessary, so get over it. Be grateful for the miracle that allows the nurse to pump me up with blood.

And let me also add, “Thank you!” to the two nice people who oh-so-generously donated their blood. And once I’m past all this nonsense, I will replace the blood I was given — with interest. I am very grateful!!

Moving on.

Lunch today was at a little hole-in-the-wall place called Flavors Eatery. It was excellent! I had a Steak Wrap-A-Rito which was a flour tortilla filled with steak, beans, rice, and the delicious house apple-veggie slaw. Cindy had veggie pizza — the pizza crust was a folded flour tortilla, baked until the edges were crispy. Delish!!

Today, I made sure I didn’t sit in a cursed chair (I asked the Chemo Nurses before I sat down). My port played nice, the steroids and chemicals were pumped into me without incident, and we even finished up early.

Tomorrow, I should be bouncing off the walls and ceiling with energy due to today’s influx of steroids and yesterday’s influx of blood. Which is really good because last weekend we bought two flats of marigolds and a flat of zinnias for the garden. I’ve been a little worried about how I was going to get them into the ground. Guess that was a needless concern.

2 thoughts on “Live Blogging from the Chemo Chair: Cycle 3.3, Transfusion City

  1. Marilyn C.

    Hoping the second half of your chemo treatments go well!

    My son is following in his father’s footsteps donating blood regularly. I saw a sticker on his car window that said Donor 90. It must mean he has donated 90 times.

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