Saturday, August 8, 2009


A couple of hours after I got back from my first dialysis session, a nurse entered the room and with a plastic bag filled with what seemed to be blood. She hooked it up to tall metal stand and proceeded to connect the plastic line from the end of the bag onto a small catheter that was inserted earlier on the top of my hand.

The nurse said that they were giving me a blood transfusion because I had low blood counts. I later learned that my hemoglobin levels, which is an indicator of how much blood was circulating in your body, was below 5.5. Normally it should be above 13.

Blood transfusions are the fastest way to increase your red blood cell count. Well, I'd have to qualify that a bit. By infusing blood into your body, a red blood cell transfusion quickly increments the the red blood cells that are circulating within the body. The result is instant and the RBC count, hemoglobin and hermatocrit levels go up.

The process itself takes a long time. This is because the transfusion is done via an I.V. drip. It generally takes about three to four hours to complete one bag, depending on how fast the drip is set. In most cases more than one bag will be ordered. I was given three.

Because the procedure began late in the afternoon, the transfusion went on throughout the night, and finished at around close to dawn the next morning. Between those times, the nurse would inspect the line at half hour intervals to see if everything was going well. And every three to four hours or so, she'd bring in a new pack filled with blood to replace the one which had been used up.

The good thing however, it isn't too bothersome, aside from tugging a line connected to a pole with wheels. I just dragged the pole where ever I wanted to go.

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