Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Big Day: Bone Marrow Donation

So the big day finally arrived!  At 6am on Friday I arrived at the hospital for check-in.  I met the anesthesiologist and got changed into my fashionable hospital garb.  The doctor arrived at 7:30am, and we started the procedure.  It took about an hour, and then I was moved into recovery.  I had to stay there for about an hour and a half and then I was moved into a private room.  Everything went well with the harvest, and the bone marrow donation representative was on hand to get the marrow to the courier.  Then it was on its way to the 10 year old boy! 

I was told before the procedure that I might have nausea afterwards.  I had been laying in my hospital bed for a few minutes when the nausea hit.  I asked Jer to get a trash can and I started to sit up....and then I passed out.  I came to and they determined that my blood pressure had dropped drastically.  They gave me some medicine to help with the nausea and it completely knocked me out.  I remember slurring my speech for a few minutes and then nothingness.  I think I was asleep for a couple hours.  When I came to, I needed to use the restroom.  I sat up slowly, walked in there, and sat down....and passed out again.  This time was a little more painful.  I fell straight forward and hit my head on the bottom of the IV stand.  My knee had also hit the tile floor kinda hard.  Jer rushed in there and called the nurses for help.  They carried me back to the bed and basically told me I wasn't allowed to move from there again.

I had to spend the next few hours just taking it easy and having my blood pressure monitored often.  They would compare it while I was laying down, sitting up, and standing.  The first time we tried it, I couldn't finish the test while standing.  I had to sit back down again.  The results weren't good at all, either.  Laying down = 102/58. Sitting up = 89/53. standing up = 54/40.  They told me again that I wasn't allowed to stand up because the fainting risk was imminent.  It was then that they also told me I wouldn't be allowed to leave the hospital that day.  Much to my disappointment, I had to stay overnight.  

Saturday morning I awoke feeling much better, however.  I felt more alert and hopeful.  We did the laying, sitting, standing test again with much better results.  I ate breakfast and talked to the nurse about getting discharged.  She removed the monster bandage covering my lower back and replaced it with small bandages.  The wounds looked good.  She called the doctor and got the go-ahead to release me.  It was wonderful news!  Jer drove me home around noon on Saturday and I've been taking it easy ever since.

Overall, the experience really wasn't that bad.  There was no pain felt during the procedure since I was completely knocked out.  The pain afterward related to the harvest has been mostly just soreness and stiffness.  It's hard to describe, but it feels like a lot of extra weight is on my hips whenever I stand up.  It's definitely tender at the injection site also.  If I walk slowly and sit down and stand up gently, I can completely handle the pain.  If I hadn't had the trouble with the low blood pressure, this would've been a relatively easy ordeal!  Even with the extra day in the hospital, and the bumps and bruises from my fall, I'm still VERY glad to have done this.  I can definitely manage soreness if it means it gives that 10 year old boy a chance at life.  Not to downplay the experience or make everyone think it's a walk in the park, but the trouble I went through pales in comparison to the benefit it might provide.  Please join the registry if you too would like to potentially save a life.   

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