the issue of blood (8)

Warning — some graphic pics or descriptions of women’s experiences with severe uterine bleeding in the following series.

And… I didn’t use proper capitalization… 😊. Sorry. Sometimes it really is where we are.

My mom and I are looking at each other like we’re both living in some weird space. The doctor just told us I need a blood transfusion. What does that mean? The nurse came in and said I would have to sign a consent form to receive the transfusion. WoW. A consent form?

I thought, from watching all of those hospital, EMT, fire department shows, over the years, I knew how things worked. I was wrong. :) And — I had given blood, a lot, before the past few years of heavy bleeding. Ugh. :) For some reason I thought getting a transfusion would be like giving blood. You sign in, answer a couple of questions, take the quick blood test to check iron levels, you give blood, and get your snacks to celebrate! :)

Not so on the receiving a blood transfusion side. Before I go on — to everyone who gives blood, whether it’s once or a lot of times. Thank you. Thank you so much. Your giving blood saves lives. In real time. A life is being saved every time you give blood. I don’t know for how long or any of the specifics of each person, but I do know that giving blood is a gift that gives people hope and life. Someone, actually, a lot of people, as you’ll see, gave blood so that I may live to see the next day. What a precious gift. Thank you.

Okay, remember I told you they did an EKG? I’m not really sure why, but they wanted to see how my heart was doing. Low blood levels change how oxygen is transferred throughout your body. It’s really pretty interesting how much of a miracle our bodies are. The same goes for science and the medical profession. It’s a miracle to have access to an inordinate amount of information, data continuously coming in and still have the ability to make an assessment on what to do for someone. It’s not easy being in the medical profession. I know it isn’t. Sometimes things happen that make you wonder, are people listening? Do they care? Hmmmmmm… I believe they do.

I believe we have to find ways to communicate information, from patients to doctors, nurses, techs, EMTs and from those in the medical profession back to patients. A way to create an opportunity for the communication (listening, talking, and understanding) process that gets better every day and into the future.

Not an easy task because we’re all ‘busy’ right? Sometimes the perceived notion of we need to get things done quickly or get this over with so we can go to the next person, event, etc. — creates an opportunity for not listening to each other. This is on the patient, family members, friends, and the medical profession. There’s this urgency from the patient, family members, and friends to get better now. Right? And there’s this desire to treat and heal patients quickly.

So I’m not scared just curious. Okay, I’m scared. I immediately send texts out to my women’s life group from church, my close friends, my worship team from church, my brother, my kids. Yes I have my phone. I’ve never had a blood transfusion before. Are you kidding me? My mom and I need all the support we can get. And I start praying — well I’ve already been praying. My prayers got a little more intense. Meanwhile, my friend, the Marine, is waiting for my mom and I in the waiting room. We’d been in the er about two, three hours. Thank God for friends. :)

-side note. Emergency rooms/emergency departments are places where a lot of waiting takes place. I know, I’ve known since I was little going to the er is at minimum a 1/2 day experience. If it’s less, that’s a treat :). For me it’s getting a break from the nonstop movement of my life. I think a lot of people aren’t prepared for that kind of waiting.

I’m thinking the next step is they come in with blood, give me blood and I’m on my way home in at least the next hour. Ummmm. No. The techs come in to take more blood! :) hehehehehe. Seriously? I’m losing blood and you’re taking more? Noooooooo!!! The techs were so cool. This particular hospital has a lot of young people working in the er, doctors, techs, nurses. All ages, really, but mostly young adults… I’m thinking some as young as 20, 21 and up :).

  • side note. I love young people. There’s something about seeing the world with fresh eyes. There’s something about being excited about your job, your life, the future. I believe that’s what God wants for all of us. You know? He wants us to look at life, at this world with fresh eyes. It’s time to be excited about our lives. It’s easier for me to say this now than even a couple of days ago. When you’re going through something — there are sparks of life because of God, our friends, our family, nice people, professionals, a smile… but in the middle of it, the thing, whatever it is — there’s fear, doubt, despair, hopelessness…

So — the techs, told me they had to type my blood. Type my blood? I told them I was A+. I’m thinking my word is good enough right? Hehehehehe. Really??? Apparently, and thank God, hospitals and staff understand how important it is to get the right blood into someone’s body before giving it to them. A matter of life or death. :) Yikes Batman!!! Think about emergencies and they don’t have time to type a person’s blood. The medical profession, a miracle in its own right.

During the typing the blood process, they check for antigens and antibodies in the blood. It’s very interesting — I didn’t really pay attention to the antigen, antibody part of blood typing. I was just wondering, by some weird mixup, if I’m not really an A+ blood type. The things we focus on right? :)

The typing of the blood process took a while.

I forgot to tell you — from the ultrasound on Monday, they said it showed a mass, fibroid, most likely, that was 5cm. Initially I was thinking a little tiny dot somewhere in my uterus. Then a couple of weeks later, I started thinking maybe the fibroid was the size of an eraser on a pencil. Until just now that is.

I just googled how long is 5cm and a link to an online ruler site came up. An Actual Online Ruler Site. Seriously. Here’s the link 5cm is almost 2 inches!

That’s way bigger than what I was I saw in my mind. Today is Nov 29, 2018, two months almost to the day and I am now realizing this. You know they say ignorance is bliss. That explains, as I look back, on some of the responses I received at the hospitals. No wonder the doctors were mentioning hysterectomy a lot. Wow. And yes, the doctor on the day of my first transfusion mentioned hysterectomy. I just listened and then when he left. I got scared. I didn’t want to get put into the hospital against my will and have a procedure done without my permission or someone talk me into something when no one has diagnosed me with cancer or other life threatening issue.

I know that sounds weird because I was bleeding a lot and that was life threatening. But I didn’t see it that way. To me it was just an issue of blood, you know? Like the woman in the bible. The one who had been bleeding for twelve years and spent all her fortune on doctors. She saw Jesus walking in the crowd and said to herself, if I just touch the hem of his garment…. hehehe, talking about faith right? Not me. The woman in the bible. She has a lot of faith. Let’s be real. I was praying and I knew God was hearing my prayers, but I was still afraid.

And besides, we, my gyn and I, had a plan for this issue, eleven short days away, Oct 8, 2018. So talk about a hysterectomy was a big deal to me.

I want to address the issue of being afraid of being talked into something I didn’t want to happen. I believe that’s a real fear — when you’re not doing well and you don’t understand what’s going and you don’t have an advocate with you, it’s easy to get talked into something that may not be right for you. I don’t know how to address this — because doctors, anyone really in a profession where they have training, education, and experience, they know a lot. I understand that, but we also know a lot about our bodies, our lives. We have to be a part of the decision making process. Something this whole experience has taught me. It’s important for all of us.

I’d already had years of reading and research on women who were pre-menopausal, hormones, hysterectomy, nutrition, exercise, etc. I still had more to learn about new treatments. By new I mean within the past ten to fifteen years, like the myomectomy and endometrial ablation. I’d heard of the ablation from a friend of mine about 7 years ago, but not the myomectomy. Hearing hysterectomy again was something I wasn’t ready to hear.

When the doctor left, I called a friend of mine who is an advocate for people in general, especially when it comes to health care. She’s a strong woman. She’s been through some things, but she’s one of those people you want on your side who you KNOW in your heart of hearts will do the right thing and stand up for you. I told her the doctor mentioned hysterectomy and that my gyn and I had a procedure set up for Oct 8. She immediately told me, “Susy, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” She told me to tell the er doctor my gyn’s name. Once they had her information they would call her and come up with a plan together to get me to the next step. That was a relief to hear. I had no idea. I just thought you were at the mercy of the hospital and their decisions.

Listen, I know that sounds weird. I am a retired Marine, have a couple of degrees, two grown children. I’ve traveled the world. I know things. And I thought I had confidence in myself. I thought I was immune from fear, doubt, confusion, you name it. I’ve stood up for my mom, my kids, friends, even strangers. As I write this I realize I stand up for myself also, but when you’re not doing well and you have to rely on other people, it’s different. And just because a person has ‘done things,’ doesn’t mean I am any better, stronger, or smarter than the next person. It just means I’ve had a different life experience and God was totally allowing me to see there were/are some things in my heart that needed changing.