All I wanted to do was rest a little in my discouragement yesterday. I went in for my transfusion about 11AM. When the blood arrived it was almost correct, A Positive, but it was not leukocyte reduced. The nurse sent it back, ugh, another hour wait. You might remember the teeth chattering chills I got on April 29th (Riding the Roller Coaster Again Well, about 20 minutes after the blood was sent back, the exact same thing happened to me. The nurses were startled as I developed teeth chattering chills vibrating the bed, and it seemed like even the walls were shaking. My initial temperature was 97.6 but within minutes it started to rise. In 20 minutes my temperature went up to 103.6. I had 8 heated blankets covering me and I still couldn’t stop shivering. After about 45 minutes the chills began to diminish and I was completely exhausted. The temperature remained high so after a consultation with Dr Golden and Dr Ehni, I was placed on IV antibiotics. All the nurses were grateful this happened while I was on IV fluids and not during the blood transfusion, since their first thought would have been transfusion reaction.

Fast forward to today. I am in the hospital resting. Last night I had 4 different IV antibiotics and 2 units of blood. Fortunately Dr Ehni, my d-h-nw-hospt.jpg infectious disease specialist, paid me a visit last night. After talking a bit he immediately connected the two chilling episodes and said that is exactly what happens with an infected port-a-cath (the implanted access port for chemo and IV). He explained that when they place the needle into the infected port-a-cath it sends bacteria through my heart and body. He ordered cultures and we learned this morning I had gram negative rods (heavy duty bacteria) cruising through my blood stream. More IV antibiotics and the decision to remove the port-a-cath.

At noon, Dr Moore, the surgeon who implanted the port-a-cath about 6 months ago, performed the surgery to remove it. It was actually done in my room along with Heather and some observing nursing students. It went very well, even when he pulled out the long catheter that went to my carotid artery. Everything was sent to the lab for culture. Since we stirred up the tissue surrounding the port-a-cath, my teeth chattering chills may return again.

I am going back on IV antibiotics as I speak and hopeful I can avoid the chills and temperature. I feel a lot stronger after my transfusion but it looks like I will be remaining in the hospital until tomorrow. Heather has been with me all afternoon and we are going to take a nap now.

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1 Comment so far

  1. hknapp on May 3, 2007 5:30 pm

    Wow ~ scary story, Don! It’s so fortunate that Dr. Enhi made the connection quickly. I’m sure these short battles are very tiring, but in a way it might actually be comforting to find some order–some rhyme and reason–in your body’s responses to triggers like these gram negative bacteria. Your immune system certainly seems to be doing its job. Good luck avoiding or riding out a final round of chills and high temps. Everyone is rooting for you. (Great photo, BTW!)

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