First Brush with Anemia

One Week Later

November 2, 2011

This morning it has been one week since that awful odyssey to the Doctor's office and the ER. I have been taking three iron pills a day this past week in hopes that it would help build red blood cells. I had a follow-up appointment so we could draw some blood and do a hemoglobin count and see if anything has changed since last week.

Lesson learned from the last rip on OCTA #178 and I got to the bus stop almost 10 minutes early. The morning air was still pleasant with just a hint of the warm Santa Ana wind destined to bring our November weather up to the mid-80s today.

The .81 mile walk from the UCI Town Center bus stop to Gottschalk Medical Plaza was a piece of cake compared to the exhausting trek of a week ago. I arrived early, breathing normally and not feeling the least bit tired. My pulse was barely elevated. Nice!

My vitals were good: blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight all better than my last visit.

The talk with Dr. P. was short; there was no need for more. He filled out a lab form for the blood samples and a Referral and Authorization for the 'scope — both ends. He wants to rule out stomach ulcers while we're in a get-tested-for-everything mode. I walk down the hall to the lab.

I don't like being stuck with needles and this lab was worse than the usual because a medical student was doing me today. She was nervous and lacked confidence. I am near fainting instead of my normal slight feelings of light-headedness. The fact that she botches it and the real phlebotomist has to have a go on the other arm doesn't help a bit. I can feel the color draining out of my face as I wait for it to be over. The pro does an excellent job and I barely feel the needle go in. In a few seconds it's over and I'm on my way out the door and into the beautiful sunshine.

Another quick trip across campus with zero drama or fatigue and I get to the stop right as #178 is pulling up. I arrive home less than three hours after I left — well less than half the time the same visit took a week ago.

A short time later Dr. P. calls with the good news. My hemoglobin count is way up from post-ER and another measure for new red blood cells indicates my bone marrow is healthy and producing away.

some bone
marrow index
Oct 26, pre transfusion 5.8 18.9
Oct 26, post transfusion 7.1 22.5
Nov 2, 1 week of iron 8.3 26.3
normal low threshold 13.0

Next appointment with Dr. P. is in two weeks and we'll count my hemos again. In the mean time, some time between now and next appointment, I get 'scoped in both ends.


Take 2.5

November 5, 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, I did Race Committee for my club BCYC and spent all day hauling up marks and anchors. It gave my separated shoulder great therapy and at the end of the day the shoulder ached a little bit but did not hurt. Pretty much full range of motion is now restored.

Sunday November 6, we raced on DARE for the first Sunkist Series which was also a CHOC charity race. Our crew donated many raffle prizes and I made the gift cards. We got 2nd, missing 1st by 13 seconds.

The day started off with pouring rain but by the time I got to the boat the clouds had moved off to the east and we had the rest of the day with crisp blue skies. The Sunkist races start in the bay, go out around some ocean marks, then finish right by the Balboa Yacht Club. A nice 12-14 knots of wind in the ocean. I was grinding on winches all day so a different motion than hauling anchors. Shoulder felt great.

Sunkist #1

Photo: Rob Wallenberg "Sail Smile"

I think that is DARE in the distance in this photo. We had a longer course than the boats in the foreground and that looks like our sails and our big (but not biggest) A3 Cuben Fiber spinnaker. This fiber is one of the spin-offs of the America's Cup from the San Diego days and Bill Koch's America Cubed campaign. The cloth is prohibitively expensive but extremely strong and light. That spinnaker is a recut hand-me-down from Disney's Pyewacket (our carbon mast and mainsail are also Pyewacket hand-me-downs.) Kettenhofen Marine/Doyle Sails did the recut to fit his boat.

I am very pleased at the rate of healing for my separated shoulder.

Next up: the "scope" November 15.