Tag Archives: CBC

One person’s curse is another person’s blessing

We have a number of friends who are not fond of our mild (thus far) winter. The ice isn’t thick enough on many lakes and rivers to skate on much less drive across; several drownings and near-drownings have occurred in the past couple weeks. Brown grass is not conducive to cross country skiing. No majestic icicles, very few days of watching snow slowly blanket the ground, and no fools getting tongues stuck on frozen metal objects. Boring indeed for them.

For us, the mild winter has been a blessing. Lucy has been battling leg swelling and blood clots for several weeks and didn’t have to additionally battle snow and ice. She was on a weekly chemotherapy regimen until January, and there have been a number of medical appointments we attended on dry roads. Anyway, last year we had nearly double our seasonal snowfall and had some brutal -20°F mornings. Maybe Mother Nature was tired from last year? Today’s snowfall was little more than a dusting, but at least our neighbors could have a bonfire without burning down the neighborhood.

Lucy’s aunt and uncle, Ardelle and Dale, were here for a visit yesterday afternoon. They brought some stew Lucy’s sister Julie had made plus a couple other goodies. It was nice seeing them!

Lucy’s left leg is puffing up very slightly and she has a rash on it from the capillaries under the skin ballooning up. Her right leg is almost the same circumference as her left leg and the reddish hue is fading. The skin peeling has almost completed. She is able to walk a few steps without her walker albeit slowly and with some discomfort. Her right ankle still does not have full range of motion and may not for another few days. One of the catheters inserted into her leg was inserted in her ankle. There is still some bruising in the area which is probably the cause of her ankle stiffness. As such, driving is still out of the question for her.

The rash and swelling is not a set back. She had a lot of fluids pumped into her during her hospital stay. Now that she is moving around, those fluids are getting flushed. Lucy still is not as physically active as she was, so there will be some lymph pooling, too. She is maintaining the physical therapy exercises she was doing in the hospital and moving around the house as much as possible.

We are noticing Lucy’s energy level is decreasing and she’s puffing a little after walking around. That usually indicates her hemoglobin count is dropping. She had her blood work done for the Coumadin dosing and was told to stay the course. A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is also drawn. Since nothing was said about her hemoglobin, so we’re assuming it is above 7.5.

Today started the busy week of appointments. Her other appointments are Valentine’s Day (PET scan), Thursday (oncologist and hopefully a treatment) and Friday (hematologist). At some point she needs to renew her driver’s license. That might be Wednesday.

Enjoy your evening and thanks for your support!

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Take 4

Lucy was initially scheduled for her procedure at around 8:30 this morning. An emergency case came up and she got bumped for the time being. She has her Nook Color to help pass the time.

Her blood transfusion occurred without incident last night.

As part of her blood clot treatment, she has a simple neurological check performed every two hours, even at night. She says she falls back to sleep quickly afterwards.

A very large part of the hospital is cell phone friendly and the patient rooms have Wi-Fi Internet access. The IV Therapy area and Day Surgery suites still require cell phones be shut off, but Wi-Fi access is in those areas.

This might be a multiple update day. Bear with us.

UPDATE #1: Lucy finally went down to Interventional Radiation at 12:15 pm. Her procedures have averaged a bit over two hours, so I was pleasantly surprised when she returned at 1:05! All the “plumbing” on her left leg is gone. She went from nine infusers plus a pain pump to two infusers plus a pain pump. There are some small clots remaining in her calf region but they are going to let those dissolve on their own. After four hours, Lucy potentially could get out of bed and walk a bit.

UPDATE #2: Lucy is restarting Coumadin tonight. She is also still getting heparin. They had to run an IV into her arm so they could administer some Levaquin, an antibiotic, as a preventative. The skin on her right leg looks sunburned. A skin infection called cellulitis may form if the antibiotic is not administered.

She still has a couple very small clots in her right calf, but Dr. Siddiqui wants to let the clots dissolve on their own. We know she will be in the hospital until at least tomorrow and until she no longer needs the heparin IV. Molly and Dr. Weinshel from Minnesota Oncology were by to see how Lucy was doing today.

Lucy did manage to stand up with some help and took a few small steps. She was confined to bed Thursday and her leg immobilized for a couple of days. Her ankle was very stiff which hindered walking. However, she has noticed a little more range of motion in her ankle as time goes on. She had a large catheter inserted on the inside of her ankle. That also contributes to the swelling in the area. Her pain has dropped down a bit. She was grading herself on the 10-point pain scale at an 8. After her procedures, it dropped to 5. At 7:00 pm, she gave it a 4.

Her calf circumference is another ½ cm smaller (about 0.2″). It doesn’t sound like much, but it is getting smaller. Her thigh is still open and the color has nearly returned to normal. The bottom of her right foot has normal coloration instead of being very dark pink. The Doppler flow detector does not need the volume set to maximum just to pick up a faint pulse. Her right foot and ankle pulses sound as loud as the pulses in her left foot and ankle.

Lucy also got a fun little ride today. Even though she is a petite woman, she got put in a patient lift and thought it was fun. The lift also ensured her weight was more evenly distributed. For us, the big plus is it helps prevent injuries to the care staff. Even a person of average weight is difficult to lift and balance. Too many care providers suffer injuries or disabilities from an awkward patient lift.

We’re hopeful of Lucy coming home yet this week. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, love, and support. You really help us get through this!

UPDATE #3: While we don’t have a definite date when Lucy can go home, we did get some really good news about her Complete Blood Count (CBC) from tonight. Her hemoglobin went up higher than expected after the transfusion. Her white count is back in the normal range and there is still no indication of infection. It’s nice to have a couple more victories!

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Fill ‘er up! No, not quite…

Today is getting longer than we expected. I’m doing this entry via my phone so please excuse the egregious spelling mistakes.

Lucy’s leg is about the same. The pain relievers zonk her out so she had some quality time getting re-acquainted with the backs of her eyelids.

Lucy went to Minnesota Oncology to have an INR test and get a Lovenox shot. Tomorrow is the meeting with the hematologist.

She had the chills before the INR test. Lucy had a CBC test done in addition to the INR. Her hemoglobin was 5.5, which was very low.

After her Lovenox shot, Lucy went to Fairview Southdale for a transfusion. Her temperature is 102.8°F, so she is being held overnight. They are starting antibiotics and doing a blood culture.

Her transfusion started at 10:00 pm when her temperature was 98.1°F. It was stopped at 10:45 when her temperature rose to 102°F, then started again at 11:15 when it went down to 100.9°F.

Here’s hoping tomorrow will go better!

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Filed under cancer battle, clinic, DVT, hospital, transfusion