Thursday, April 14, 2011

Afghans and Angels

Yesterday was IVIg day for me. Not my usual Monday, but because of our trip to Florida, I had to rearrange things a bit. Most of the infusion time I spend sleeping. The IV Benadryl they give me beforehand pretty much knocks me right out. Since this is a six hour ordeal, I don't mind the nap one bit. In fact, I look forward to it!

Somewhere around hour three or four, I was wakened gently by the soft voice of this beautiful little old women. "Would you like a blanket dear? I have this one, or this one. I made them both and I would like to give one to you."
"To me? To keep?" I said.
"Yes, for you to keep. Which one would you like?"
One was quilted with a soft pink floral pattern and the other was a hand knitted afghan. As you can see from the picture - I chose the the afghan! How could I not? For any of you that know me personally, sunflowers are a big part of my wild flower garden. It was perfect!

Being extremely tired from the past weeks, combined with the Benadryl, I again fell fast asleep. If it would not have been for the soft blanket that lay across my lap when I awoke, I would have thought this silver haired lady was an angel in my dreams. But lucky for me, she was an angel in reality.

About thirty minutes before my infusion came to an end, I began to notice my heart skipping a few beats. I have a history of arrhythmia, so at first this did not alarm me much. Until those skipping beats got faster, and faster, and faster, with no reprieve. My heart rate eventually reached about 120-130 beats per minute - and there it stayed for over an hour. Needless to say, this is not something that the Specialty Infusion Clinic can handle. So I was immediately whisked to the ER where I spent the remainder of my day. Heart attack was ruled out first thing. But because of the presence of the anticardiolipin antibody in my blood, deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, are the biggest concern. One of the tests they do for this condition is a blood test called the D-dimer Test. According to Lab Tests Online, the following is an explanation of a "positive D-dimer":

A positive D-dimer result may indicate the presence of an abnormally high level of fibrin degradation products. It tells the doctor that there may be significant blood clot (thrombus) formation and breakdown in the body, but it does not tell the location or cause. It may be due to, for example, a venous thromboembolism (VTE) or DIC. Typically, the D-dimer level is very elevated in DIC.

Well, mine was elevated. Normal range is about a .5 - mine came back at 1.3. So the next hours included just about every test under the sun for blood clots, including a lung ventilation perfusion scan where I was required to breath in (and be injected with) radio active isotopes! Not really what I had on the agenda for the day! In the end, I am happy to report they could find NO blood clots anywhere in my body. My heart eventually snapped back into normal rhythm, follow-up appointments with new doctor's were made and we were sent home.

If you have ever spent time in the emergency room, you are familiar with the "law" that ER rooms can not be above 58 degrees....well, maybe a little warmer, but it sure feels like 58 degrees. And any room that includes big machinery like x-ray machines or CAT scans falls even below that. It's never a good sign when you get wheeled into a room where the technician is wearing a sweatshirt and down vest!

painting by me!
I needed that blanket yesterday. More than I can even tell you. The comfort it gave me fell way beyond the warmth of it's fibers. I kept it with me the entire ER visit, through every test and even under the x-ray. I kept thinking about the hands that knit it. About the face that shown like an angel above my bed. I let it comfort me like my own grandmother - whom I thought of in my most difficult moments throughout the day. She made afghans, too.

There are so many good things in this life. So many good people. Some of them are still here with us and some are but memories. Some lay across our laps like blankets, or children, or pets and some just make up the fabric of our hearts. I find that when I am feeling alone, it's not the absence of these things in my life, it is the absence of my ability to be conscious of them.

This day, I have a lovely sunflower afghan to help me remember!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She gave you the gift of the afghan, and your post shared that gift with us. I felt like I, too, had received the love and warmth of those sunflowers. And it's lovely to again see the sunflower you created. I love that one! Is that your grandmother who is connected to the big crock and the little whip cream bowl? How nice to see her! Peace, my friend. *Jeana