Today was a long day.
At Monday's clinic visit, Jake's hematocrit count was quite low--26.5 (the normal low is 35.0)
They told us if it fell to 24 they would transfuse. He had a blood draw last night and before 9:00 this morning I got the phone call that the hematocrit level was 21.6--so off to Primary Children's we went.
We were told in the beginning that Jake would almost certainly need transfusions of some sort during this year. We're grateful to have gone this far without. And it wasn't so bad . . . except for the aforementioned long day part.
The Hematology/Oncology Clinic reserves Fridays for emergent cases, so it was nice and uncrowded. They accessed his port, drew his blood, and then we began waiting. It took two hours for the lab to type and crossmatch his blood. We picked a comfy spot in the Infusion Room (a large room with lots of recliners and rocking chairs) and settled in with the first season of Survivor.
The transfusion itself took several hours. He was given two (hmmm, somethings, liters? let's just call it bags) of packed red blood cells. I asked how they get just the red blood cells. The nurse said they spin it. But she didn't know anything more technical. I said that was fine as anything more technical would be beyond me. They infused very slowly for the first hour to make sure Jake didn't have a reaction of any kind. He didn't, so they turned up the rate--it was nice to see the infusion time go from 4 hours to 1 hour.
By the time all was said and done, we'd been in clinic for 6 1/2 hours, getting out just in time for rush hour traffic. Did I mention it was a long day?
For the record, we did not donate the blood Jake used. Jacob is A negative; Chris and I are both A positive. That means Jake could give us his blood, but we can't return the favor. I find myself feeling very kindly tonight to all the A negative donors out there tonight. Thank you, whoever you are.
Now we hope those red blood cells will put some color in his cheeks and some energy in his days.