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Low Red Blood Cell Count

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:13pm
Nurse Amy, whom I think is awesome, was my nurse yesterday.

I got Easy Chemo as planned, but in addition I also got an Aranesp injection to boost my red blood cell (hemoglobin) count. My HGB was 9.8 when it should be 12 to 15.5. When Nurse Amy came over with the injection, I thought she was trying to give me the Neulasta injection, which should not happen till next Friday. She explained that we need to boost my red blood cell count. She also gave me a printout of my lab results, which was super cool not that I know how to interpret the 30+ things on the printout.

Aranesp comes with a pretty nice handout. Nurse Amy also talked about how I ought to be eating things that will boost my iron. So on the way home I stopped at a Harris Teeter and got liver. I really like liver!

I have seen Dr Reidel eleven times. One time was when we met for my "second opinion" to review my case and switch me over to Duke. Ten times were for chemo; and eight of those times, I first got a nice long satisfying chat with some random oncology resident who was assisting him. These residents asked a million questions and recorded my answers and all my side effects and passed along the high points to the doctor. (I never realized till now how satisfying it is when someone writes down everything you say!) I know either they or he filtered my info because Dr Reidel would later come in and focus on the important one every week.

The last two visits, however, there has been no resident to chat with. I really miss that! And Dr Reidel does not want to chat. He asks for what's most pressing. As he left the exam room yesterday, I felt vaguely disappointed and unfulfilled. It wasn't till much later that I realized how much I miss his parade of residents.

Ho, but later on, I got plenty of chatting! (People always say be careful what you wish for.) In the treatment room, I sat next to a lovely couple (Chris and Eva ) and chatted with them almost the entire time I was there. He was a "biological" patient -- not a chemo patient -- and she was crocheting and keeping him company. They live like three miles from me!  They sure helped make the time fly by.

Usually, my neighbors in the treatment room simply nod a friendly hello and then ignore me for the rest of the time. That is okay, too, because I bring a book, and my rosary, and my Tetris and just totally entertain myself.
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