Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stem Cell Harvest Day 2!

(This picture is from near the end, inside the yellow bio hazard bag are the fruits of our labour.)

Wow, I'm only a few days behind here but I feel like I’m trying to conjure up some distant memory. Charlotte’s apheresis was on Monday and it was a long day for all of us. But it went well and we should never have to do it again. When we were told it would take about 5 hours, they neglected to mention that is just the time that the machine needs to run! There were also 2 hours to set up and 2 hours to unhook and monitor her afterwards.
We started the whole process at 9:00. We were set up in ICU this time around, so that things could be responded to quicker in case problems should arise. Things got off to a slow start again, we waited on the donor blood to show up so the machine could be primed, then we waited on Charlotte to respond to her anaesthetic. Apparently she does not take anaesthetic well; we ended up tinkering around with the combination of drugs and doses all day to try and keep her sedated “just enough.” Charlotte was on a constant dose of two different sedation drugs, but we had to keep increasing it hourly as she would keep waking up, our doctor started to raise her eyebrows every time she was called in to order more drugs.

(She should be out by now... why does she look so happy?)

Her lines were open and worked well during the harvest. This was a real blessing because it meant that we did not have to put in a femoral (groin) line for the procedure. Another answer to prayer was that her blood counts were even better than they had been on Friday, and the higher her counts the faster the apheresis can go. So all in all it was (only) a 9 hour day.

Rob snuck in and took this in the morning, she tends to wake up around 6am and think she need to some sleep in my bed... and shes so cute (and I'm so tired) that she usually gets away with it. You can see here how much her hair has thinned out already.
Here she is... pretty loopy but not sleeping! *Oh doctor, we need some more drugs.* And yes, all those lines are filled with blood, plus there is more in the base of the machine.

Finally shes out. On her right toe is a monitor for pulse and oxygen, on her leg is the blood pressure cuff. Her left leg has the IV for her drugs. The four lines coming out on her left are what is hooked up to the machine. The lines coming out on her right side were those little sticky ones they put all over her chest to monitor her rates.

And here is the garbage can afterwards... it was empty when we had started that morning! That big oval was in the base of the machine, all her blood goes through that and as it spins the centripetal force separates out the precious cells we need. Thank you so very much to to donor of the blood that we needed to prime this machine! As you can see Charlotte would not have had enough in her to complete the cycle. We ask all family and friends: if you ever get a chance to donate blood please take it! Thank you so much to all of you who already do so.

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