This morning Kellen’s teacher thanked me for checking off the last items on my list. So, I guess I can pat myself on the back for the fact that it’s going to hit low 70’s and the sun is shining, right?
Okay, I have no weather controlling powers, but I am happy to have a page full of check marks on my Cold and Flu Season Bucket List.
The biggest one for me was giving blood.
I’ve wanted to give blood for a while because Owen required a lot of blood in the NICU. I don’t have exact count, but I do know that at the three month mark, he’d already had 50 platelet transfusions and many other whole blood and plasma. A conservative estimate is he had 75+ blood transfusions. On the night that he was his sickest, and immediately post op, the surgeon explained that Owen was losing a lot of blood. It was coagulate bleeding (blood will not clot), so not something they could close a wound and make go away. He was losing blood faster than they could transfuse him. Owen’s body had to start clotting…immediately. When Kyle asked how long it would take to fix the issue, the surgeon was very blunt, “this needs to change tonight”. Immediately after he said that, the Neonatologist asked us if we could stay the night to be with Owen. It was 10:00 at night and a family was told they needed to leave a boarding room because “another family needed to be with their very sick baby.”
Owen was on continuous transfusions. All night long we waited for Owen to pee. We were told that when your body does not have enough blood, the kidneys are the first major organ to be bypassed. We stared for hours at the lack of pee in his catheter collecting vial.
Clearly, Owen made it through the night. At the 48 hour point, I remember his doctor looking at us in rounds and saying, “he’s still very sick, but he’s doing as well as we could hope given what he’s been through.” She paused and said, “it’s miraculous, really”. Somebody…or somebodies, provided that miracle for Owen.
For anyone as sick as Owen was, it takes a long time for blood counts to recover from the degree of trauma his body suffered. On top of that, it was discovered that his bowel perforation was caused by Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a cold virus that can be devastating to immuno-compromised and babies in utero. CMV attacks platelets. In the most severe cases, like Owen’s, CMV is treated for several weeks with an antiviral drug that is classified as chemotherapy called Ganciclovir. Ganciclovir, as do most chemo medications, attacks platelets. Platelets are the clotting component in blood. Are you noticing a trend here??
Owen is alive because people donated blood and blood components. I had to give back.
Have I ever mentioned that I’ve passed out (literally woke up in a heap on the floor surrounded by nurses) from a routine blood draw and on another occasion nearly passed out from an MMR shot? Giving blood terrified me!
But, I did it. And it wasn’t so bad. I laid on a bed (first timers lay down, you can sit reclined after the first time, if you prefer) and chatted with a woman who was about to get her teen daughters ready for prom. It doesn’t take long, it did not hurt and maybe I helped give someone a chance for their own miracle? I’ll definitely be going again.
So maybe the sun isn’t shining because I gave blood, but I’m proud to have done it.
Oh, wait, it’s Monday. You wanted some cute kid pics, didn’t you.Ain't No Roller Coaster