Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Picking Up With Treatments

After the doctor explained the disease, and how it is a lifelong condition with no cure, saying I was nervous and depressed would be a severe understatement.

He began explain a treatment called Plasmapheresis (Yet another treatment so rare its not recognized by the library autocorrect.).

In Plasmapheresis, the blood is removed from the body, at an amount of 1/3 the total volume at a time. It is run through a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The Plasma is where the antibodies reside. They then replace the removed plasma with a substance called Albumen, a synthetic plasma.

It has to be said now that after being explained how the treatment worked, I was told that Citrate is used as an anti-coagulant to keep your blood from clotting in the system. I informed the doctors that I am allergic to Citrate in its raw form.

This complicated treatments heavily. I struggled through the first treatment as the citrate was pumped through the catheter in my neck, directly into my heart. I was given a heavy dose of Benadryl prior to the procedure, but even with that pre-treatment I still had a severe reaction to the Citrate in my heart. My heart beat dropped to 26 beats a minute, my blood pressure bottomed out, and my breathing nearly came to a complete stop.

I went completely paralyzed for approximately 20 minutes during the treatment. The entire time all I could do was fixate on the respirator machine they had just outside the door waiting to be wheeled in and hooked up along side the rest of the machines already monitoring everything my body could do. The nurses kept slapping my on the chest and reminding me to breath.

After about 20 minutes I was able to breath on my own normally, without having to be prompted to breath.
By that time Rosemary, my wife, made it to the room and I had begun using her as a focal point. Seeing her reminded me of everything I had to fight for. Had she not shown up when she did, I may not have had that umph of energy to pull out of my current condition. I fought as hard as I could to keep consciousness through how terrible it felt to have all the current conditions. My face was ice cold, my chest felt like I had a softball being shoved into it, and I was so nauseous I have no clue how I didn't get sick. But, I fought for my wife, and she reminded me of our daughter, and of Cassidy.

I pulled out of that horrible event, and promptly fell back into the blackness of unconsciousness. When I came to, I must have been doing well enough. I was on several drips, my throat was soar from breathing so erratically, my head felt like it was in a vise, my chest still felt like there was someone standing on it, and I was still sick to my stomach, but I didn't have a breathing tube in my throat, and my wife was still by my side.

We kissed and she said, "Hey! We agreed no dying didn't we?! You can't break that promise!", with a little laugh.

"I know, I was just trying to make the doctors and nurses earn that paycheck." I said with a laugh reverberated in my voice.

And with that the first treatment finished. The doctors and my neurologist came in later that morning to see how I was doing, and go over how they were going to alter the treatment for the next 4 rounds.

Good god, I still had 4 treatments, one every other day, after this one...