Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hematology and Me

Today started out with a $.25 tall blonde.

I'm not sure what you're thinking... but it was Starbucks. It was their 25th anniversary...so coffee was a quarter! I love quarter coffee!!

We picked that up on our way to Princess Margaret Hospital, which is across the street from Toronto General, as today was my appointment with hematology. It was really humid (great for my hair - sense the sarcasm?) so I needed a good break during the walk to get there.

So, there we were relaxing...well, breathing and sweating, when all of a sudden this dude walks up to a cop standing on the sidewalk in front of us and blurts out, "Excuse me officer, a guy just dropped his pants and s**t on the sidewalk!"

I can't make this stuff up.

I didn't know whether to throw up or laugh. Guy dropped his pants and then dropped a J. Right. On. The. Sidewalk.

In. Public.

Oh Toronto, how bizarre you are.

Reminds me of a time when I was locked up in the QEII. My friend Lindsay and I left the hospital for a couple of hours between my IV's to go to a movie. (It's nice to have some normalcy when in hospital, or jail as us cystics like to call it.) Now I should explain that the 8th floor is the medicine floor at the QEII and a lot of the beds are full of seniors awaiting a room at a nursing home. When we got back to the hospital we noticed what looked like a chocolate bar on a chair in my room.

'Cept that wasn't no chocolate bar.

 Back to my blood story: we walk into room 627 on the 14th floor and I'm hit with this:
 Notice the machine the nurse is standing by. Then notice the bracelet they put on my wrist. Then picture a room full of people hooked up to these machines. Then imagine what was running through my head. What the??

Luckily, my body was not catapulted onto a chair, no needles were stuck in my veins and no blood was sucked out to swirl around the machine pictured above.

Today I met Dr. Blood. This is what I learned:

Everybody has antigens in their body, but only some people develop antibodies. It’s not really known how I developed them, but they are guessing it was through one of my many infections. Any time there is a transplant, the body’s immune system recognizes the implanted organ(s) as a foreign object and attacks. This is why I will be on immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of my life. 

You are started on these anti-rejection meds immediately after surgery.  Luckily, by the time your immune system realizes there is a foreign object to destroy, the drugs have weakened it. However, the antibodies throw in a curve ball; they will attack the new lungs immediately and will destroy them either during the operation or within 72 hours. 

BUT, with modern medicine being what it is, they have discovered this and have a game plan. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are tested for antibodies every 3 months and can be tested immediately before transplant. When a person has antibodies that react with the new lungs (which occurs with 30% of the new lungs), the blood people wash the antibodies out 3 times during the operation and once per day for the next 5 days. This helps ensure a happy transplant. I wonder if they ever thought about hiring Molly Maid?

One of the highlights of my day:  as we're about to leave Dr. Blood says, "I hope a lung becomes available soon". To which Brad replies, "Actually we need two". Dr. Blood looks up with a grin and declares "Smart a$$".

Two exciting things to wrap up my day.

1. Liquid oxygen was delivered (tomorrow the RT comes with instructions):

2. The wheelchair was delivered:

Apparently the support worker has become the patient.


  1. The guy in the wheelchair is HAWT.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Great legs :)