T + 360 Back to "Normal"

On Wednesday I went to the transplant clinic and got some good news as my blood counts and my neutrophils in particular had returned to their "normal" levels. Normal for me is not quite normal for anyone else as I am still on steroids and ciclosporin both of which suppress the immune system white cells.

We are going to have yet another go at reducing my steroid dose but this time I have some new 2.5mg tablets as well as my usual 5mg. I will try 5mg one day and 2.5 the next for two weeks and then 2.5mg every day for the following two weeks before I go back to the clinic in a total of four weeks' time.

The visit didn't get off to a great start as after the phlebotomist had taken my blood, rather than taping a ball of cotton wool over the puncture mark she used some type of gauze packing. I thought nothing of it but as I walked out the room I was met with rather shocked faces from a couple of the other patients in the waiting room. I looked down and saw the blood was running down from the crease of my arm. It was one of those things that looked more impressive than it was but I scuttled back inside the treatment room to get it sorted.

More gauze, pressure and tape was applied and the red tide was stemmed. I asked had they run out of cotton wool and was told they are not allowed to use it anymore "something to do with the fibres" was the response from the nurse, with appropriate sighing and eye-rolling. It does seem faintly ridiculous. How many years have people been using cotton wool? I've had getting on for a hundred sets of blood samples from my arms and never had any leaks. First time with the new gauze and that is the result.

However let me move on before I start blaming health and safety or saying it is political correctness gone mad.

That Wednesday was the 9th September and I was admitted to the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit on the 8th September 2008 with the actual transplant taking place on the 15th. So to celebrate that fact and to say thank you for the amazing care I had had I bought a few boxes of chocolates for the different wards, doctors and clinics that have looked after me.

I was quite the Easter bunny visiting the BMT, Ward East 3a where I had all my prep chemo and the Day Unit where I have been for my transfusions. The staff were really appreciative and it was nice to be able to do something nice for them even if it was just a token.

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