Friday, 5 December 2008

Red-blooded American

Here is what you do for a transfusion. You get up at 5:45 am (pushing it, but Nick is feeding the animals) so you can leave Rémuzat at 6:30 and get to the hospital in Montélimar by 8:00.

The nurses put you in a room, check to make sure you are who they think you are (name, maiden name, married name, address, date of birth), take your blood group card, and telephone the lab where they will "make" the platelets. (What does that mean?)

The lab starts to work and, when they are finished, they send the platelets to Montélimar. The lab is at the main départementale hospital in Valence, the Préfecture (kind of the capital) of the Département.

Then you hang around, sleeping, reading and yawning at the nurses when they come to take your temperature and blood pressure every forty-five minutes. Then lunch: not the dreaded ham today, but absolutely the worst fish cake I've ever eaten. Or didn't eat.

The platelets arrived at 12:30 and the transfusion took no time at all.

Arriving home, the post contained my blood test results from Wednesday; my platelets were down to 20. Now why is my C-Reactive Protein count, which has been completely normal, suddenly risen -- to 11.9 and then 22.8?

Meanwhile, my nose has stopped bleeding and I feel like a new -- or the old -- woman.


  1. Trying to remember. Were you sick when the blood was drawn? CRP can mark inflammation or infection. It's sort of a vague marker, so hard to tell exactly what's causing it.
    I'll scout around some journals at work and see if they say anything.

  2. I got the part about the infection from the net, but no, I was only wiped out from lack of platelets. BTW, my CA-125 is down to 160. :-)

  3. They don't "make" platelets but they probably "prepared' them. Sounds like a lot of hurry up and wait for something that took no time at all! Wonder why they couldn't have had the platelets prepared ahead of time? Like Karen said, CRP is inflammation/infection marker of sorts. I'm sure you've read this already but:
    Look at "role in cancer", I could only find specific references to colon cancer though. It could be fleeting... lets hope so! Let us know what the next value is. I hope you are feeling better though.

  4. I have no intelligent medical comments to make, except if platelets are down, then the blood is too thin so that would explain the nosebleeds. My stepfather was plagued with nosebleeds for years, but I can't remember why.
    Carina, wishing she understood medicalese better.

  5. Oh, and by "make" the platelets, I'm guessing they had to prepare the transfusion. When you donate blood, the platelets are removed from the whole blood for transfusion. They are usually from 3-5 different people. Sometimes they will do it from one donor, but the prep is different (one person can't donate enough whole blood for a platelet transfusion, so they have to use an apheresis machine that pulls platelets out of your blood, then return the blood to your body). Or they could've been frozen and needed to be thawed.

  6. Interesting. I'm so glad to have you as explainer. And we've just learned that Nadine's mother (Nadine & Polo are our friends who are building the hemp brick house) used to be a platelet donor, with the take the platelets and return the blood method.