Ignorance of how serious my condition was enabled me to keep functioning in my daily life. I still enjoyed my morning coffee and game time on the Internet. When I was sitting, I could breathe just fine. One day I glanced at my hands and noticed I couldn’t see any veins. I thought my hands were swollen because of edema, although my ankles weren’t swollen. I didn’t think about it anymore and continued working on my crochet project.
I was constantly tired and felt achy with every movement, so I sat around a lot and thought I’m not going to see my next birthday.
I made an appointment with my doctor and he ordered lab tests. I usually go for lab tests about every six months for my diabetes and cholesterol monitoring. He also referred me to a pulmonologist, who told me my shortness of breath was probably related to my posture (I have osteoarthritis), which didn’t allow my lungs to function properly. He prescribed an inhaler and recommended that I use a CPAP machine, which I declined – mostly because I thought it would be too much trouble. I had had a sleep test in the past which required use of a CPAP machine.
On February 3, 2011, my doctor’s nurse called and told me I was to go to the hospital and be admitted. Of course I was shocked. Me? I’m basically healthy. I don’t do hospitals. I admit that I feel lousy now, but this is scary. The lab results indicated my hemoglobin count was 4.3. The normal range is between 11-13.
Hospital Week 1
I started feeling like a pin cushion very quickly. While I was being prepared prior to even getting a room, the technician was trying to find a place to put the IV fitting that goes on my arm or wrist. I kept hearing the words, “It blew,” and finally a fourth technician was able to find a good site
Someone pulled my lower eye lid down, which was white instead of pink. That’s another sign of being anemic.
A few hours later I was in a room, hooked up for a transfusion consisting of six units of blood.
I had a roommate who asked to be moved. My constant moaning and groaning was too much for her to take.
Due to all the tests on the agenda, including a colonoscopy, a look at my stomach, and a couple other tests, I didn’t get much food. The doctors were looking for the source of the internal bleeding and discovered that my stomach lining was inflamed and I had a small ulcer.
Because of my constant companion (the IV drip) and weakened condition, I used a portable commode. The hospital is not a great place to get rest. In addition to being hooked up to the IV drip, there was an automatic blood pressure cuff attached to my upper arm. Then there was breathing therapy via a CPAP machine, time to take medication and have blood drawn. Just one thing after another!
After a week, my hemoglobin count was up to 9 and I was released.
Hospital Week 2
After leaving the hospital, my hemoglobin count went back to 6, so I had to return. I was told to be admitted through the emergency room, so I packed my large tote with necessaries and arrived at the emergency room around 3 pm. and 12 hours later was in my hospital room. I’ll tell you more about that in another narrative.
This time at the hospital was better than the first. I felt much better and didn’t lose any roommates because of my noisiness.
During the second week at Hemet Valley Medical Center, I had a heart attack and was transferred to another hospital for a stent.
That’s how it was in January and February of 2011. It’s nice to know God isn’t finished with me yet since three years have passed since the days of internal bleeding, anemia and a stent.
I take a 65-mg iron pill each day and my hemoglobin is stable at 11.