April 18, 2008

Found out yesterday that I'd be heading home today, but didn't want to say anything for fear of jinxing it. At the time of this decision I was still below the usual neutrophils threshold (I'm at 0.2, previously I was released when I hit 0.5), but it was felt that with gastroenteritis still going around—there was a new case the day before—I wasn't any worse off at home than here, so long as I had my usual battery of antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals. I also have to come in for a blood test on Monday so they can make sure the neutrophil levels are progressing.

There was just one moment when I thought I might not get to come home today; last night I had one of my occasional incidences of tachycardia, where my heart starts beating hard and fast for a while, then settles down. The first and most intense episode I ever had was in 1991 (coincidentally, just a few minutes after I conceived of Frames Per Second); since then it's been something that happens every once in a while then goes away in two or three minutes, max. Last night, while I was talking to one of the nurses (mostly both of us saying, "Yay! Going home!") I had another episode, but this one lasted longer—I'd guess it was five minutes before I realized it was still going on—and I started to break out in a sweat. I mentioned it to the nurse, and we checked my pulse on the machine: it read 192 beats per minute, a measurement neither of us believed until she confirmed it manually. She ran out, called the resident on call, and set me up for an EKG—but by the time the last sensor sticker was on me it was over, and the EKG just registered a normal heartbeat. (This is why I haven't bothered bringing this up with a doctor since, oh, 1992.)

Anyway, my fear was that I'd be kept here for observation, when I knew there'd be nothing to observe. It turns out the resident agreed (especially when I told her how long I've been experiencing these episodes), and I am indeed heading home in just a few hours. Since my platelets are getting kinda low and I won't be in until Monday, they're transfusing me just to top me off (12th platelet transfusion, 34th overall), but I'm only getting a half-dose of Benadryl. No more weirdness or grogginess, please and thank you.

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posted by Emru Townsend at


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