Thursday, March 04, 2010

Infusion, or, Another Health Update, or, How One Thousand People Made Aaron Philosophical For A Day

Good morning, dear people,

Yesterday, in accordance with current timetable, I had my long appointment for my immunoglobulin infusion out at Hershey. I had to go for the appointment early because it took most of the day for them to pour a couple pints of what is essentially distilled imunne system antibodies into my veins.

I arrived at pediatric hematology a little before 8:30 in the morning. They took a little awhile for the standard check in, height and weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc. I was given a few pills -- I inconveniently forget -- by the nurse from last time I was there who drew a lot of blood for testing and looked eeriely exactly like one of my classmates at Bethany Lutheran (shout out here to Sarah, now Mrs. L).

I met with Dr. Freiberg, my hematologist. Last time I saw him was for my blood panel and bone marrow biopsy (the interesting story I referred to last update - you can skip this paragraph if it doesn't interest you). He had talked to me extensively and let me look through his three-way teaching microscope at my bone marrow slides afterwards last time. Well, I confused the nurse and medical aides last time by being heavily sedated for the biopsy and yet failing to black out or forget what happened, rather remembering it in detail. I confused myself and my parents and now Dr. Freiberg again, though, and even more by having only my mom's telling of it as evidence of that half hour conversation and lesson from Dr. Freiberg. Evidently the extra-large dose of sedative took about 40 minutes to affect me instead of the 5-ish it should have been. And even with that, reports all agree that I was extremely lucid and intelligent in my conversation with Dr. Freiberg. Yet again I am a medical sport, anomaly.

Back to present story, Dr. Freiberg talked with me a couple minutes and filled out the forms for my appointment. He had a couple of med students in his office, so he called them in to show them how to do a spine curvature screening and to have me explain in detail the spinal fusion surgery I was having to correct and stabilize. That was fun. I have become kind of used to being an applied example of medical schooling and different conditions.

I was walked by a nurse to an infusion room full of comfy chairs and IV machines. It was sad to see because the room had a few young children, including a nine year-old girl I had met in the waiting room, receiving early doses of chemo. I was taken to a different room, though, "the suite", because of the length of my infusion, I presume. There I was able to mostly nap on a couch and rocking armchair during six hours it took for the IVIG infusion. It took that long, longer than anticipated, because the higher infusion rate was giving me severe chills, the cool fluid flowing into my blood system faster than my body raised it to level normal body temperature.

The infusion, I found from personal research, is the distilled antibodies and some plasma from over one thousand blood donations, which ends up as a couple pints of the stuff. Naturally, having one thousand more people flowing in my veins made me very philosophical on the drive home, covering the concepts of how ones blood is their life, their strength, their essence. Though they didn't have the capability of blood transfusions back then, that nature of blood makes having someone's blood in my system very close equivalent and reasoning to having had each one of them save my life and different traditions of life-debt.

That finally done, though, my immune system has its boost. I am told I may have bad headache and fever over the next few days because of it, but it is all good. First thing Monday I will have blood tests taken and sent to Dr. Freiberg so he can give Dr. Armstrong the thumbs-up that it worked and I am ready for surgery.

My mild apologies for this becoming so much longer than I intended.

Keep me in your prayers,
--Aaron Nemoyer

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