So… after 6 days of a fever of over 104, violent and uncontrollable shaking and an inability to get from one room to the other without sliding my body against the wall for support, my silly boyfriend decides that it’s time to haul me kicking and screaming (or dragging and whimpering rather) to the clinic.
The doctor takes one look at me and decided due to my canary yellow hue, that my liver has clearly aborted all obligation to me and and that I was to be rushed immediately to the hospital.
After about 2 billion blood tests, which were especially fun because I have no veins, it was determined that my liver is in great shape.
“So I can still drink?!?”
As are my kidneys.
The only thing is, that my over enthusiastic immune system has decided for no apparent reason, that my red blood cells are actually an evil virus and has formed anti-bodies that are rapidly killing them off. Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia.
The next morning, I had my first of 12 blood transfusions. I was terrified. First they warn you of all the potential reactions you might have to the blood, then they reassure you that only 25% of recipients have a reaction.
“ONLY 25%? I may have chartreuse eyeballs, I may be in a fever induced semi-coma but I can do basic math. There are four people in this room things aren’t looking so good for somebody.”
Then they come look at you every 15 minutes to remind you that you might react.
“Are you feeling anything strange? Heart palpitations? Difficulty breathing? Itching?”
“No, no I’m fine” scratch scratch, wheeze, choke.
My roommate was a loud groany man, who wasn’t as offensive as he was exhausting. I kept catching him heaving his body off the end of his bed, gown around his thick neck, his stark white ass in the air, letting out these long winding farts, tugging on his colostomy bag, muttering and swearing in Italian.
“Mr. Primiani, you’re not supposed to get out of bed by yourself.”
“I go see my wife!” He announces authoritatively.
I push the alert button.
The Preposé comes running and cram him back into place, threatening to restrain him and what have you.
Repeat every 30-40 minutes.
It was our thing.
After having some of my blood accidentally transfused into a bag of saline, the visiting hematologist requested that I be transferred to a hospital more equipped for my condition, like one with actual doctors for example.
The next hospital gave me a private room and reverse isolation. A calmer, quieter place to obsessively question my mortality and berate myself for having put off doing laundry all week, never having written a will or planned for the potential orphanage of my children.
It took several days before I could walk the four feet to the bathroom without help from Francois, who devotedly dragged my IV stand behind him back and forth, and refrained from showing any resentment towards me for having to use the toilet about every 15 minutes. He slept in the chair beside me, holding my hand and reassuring me that everything would be OK. I reassured him that I knew everything would be OK and silently prayed to god to let me live.
They have successfully suppressed my immune system enough to slow down the execution of my blood cells and now we watch and wait, as I get slowly weaned off the steroids, to see that the anti-bodies don’t kick in again. We’re not entirely in the clear, I’m still heavily medicated and having my blood tested every couple of days but I was discharged from the hospital yesterday, to come home to heal. The condition being that my mom is not allowed to go home for at least a week (sorry mom) and my kids promise to be angels. Hear that kids?
For real though, I’m happy to be home to listen to them bicker, to listen to the landlord renovate the apartment upstairs, so happy to not eat “vegetarian fish loaf” for supper, so happy to be home to sleep in my own bed, even if Bowtie/Boots/Duncan/Eli/Whose cat is that? only lets me sleep on a third of it. Thank you for the flowers, wishes, visits, prayers and piggy truffles. Thank you to my sweet boyfriend who insisted that I was beautiful even if I looked like Marge Simpson. Thank you most of all to everyone who came together and managed to miraculously stabilize my children’s lives through all of this. I can’t thank you enough, but thank you, thank you, thank you.