Sunday, February 10, 2013

"How are you?"

I ask it myself all the time. And I get asked this all the time. Of course, it's just a conversational convention. No one really wants the true answer, & no one expects one.

Right now the true answer is "I'm not well at all." I got the numbers from my complete blood count test (CBC). It was worse than I thought. About 10 days ago my hemoglobin was 7.9. When my health care friends hear that, they blanch. Jeeze1 That's low! Very low!

This means I have anemia, not enough oxygen being carried around in my blood. It's clear it's from lack of iron in my blood. I don't have enough iron to be able to make normal sized heme molecules so that my blood can carry around the correct amount of oxygen needed.

This happened somehow very gradually so that over time I compensated for it. If I had had a hemorrhage, I would have felt immediately nearly dead and I probably would have been given a transfusion. But my body learned to gradually adapt over quite some time to what was probably a tiny, slow loss of iron. So I can walk, talk, carry on most of my normal life most of the time.

But I just don't feel well at all while I am carrying on. I'm very, very fatigued. Yesterday, for example, I needed to nap about every two hours even though I wasn't doing much of anything strenuous. I did sweep the kitchen floor with a broom. It was really grody, and and I had been bothered by all the gunk on the floor for quite some time. So I finally managed to make the kitchen floor look presentable, and that meant I needed to nap for more than an hour afterwards. Same for changing the bedsheets later in the day.

So, what am I doing about all this? I am taking iron supplements 3 times a day as my doctor wants me to do. And I'm pacing myself to conserve energy and not get wiped out by something or another.

But my doctor does not seem all the interested in finding out why I'm anemic. Various tests have ruled out a wide variety of things already (yes, I have had a colonoscopy which came out 100% negative, fyi). I have been doing Internet research and talking with all my physician / nurse practitioners friends across the country. Together we have come up with a big list of reasonable follow-up tests that have not yet been done. So I'm going to approach my doctor to ask her to check out some things. I don't want to say here what exactly I'm going to ask. We'll see how it goes.

Oh, by the way, I've taken to answering (if I have time to think about it first before "I'm fine" pops out of my mouth) "I'm doing all right." And that is the truth. I've been better, but I am doing all right.

1 comment:

  1. Oh NO! I'm so sorry to hear you are not doing well. That makes me sad :( I wish the best for you, friend, and hope that you get this figured out, so that when the snow melts, you will feel awesome enough to work in the Gardens at Red Butte, and maybe we can go for a stroll around IKEA. Heal well.