Thursday, February 02, 2006

Prostate Surgery - Blood tales...

Well, I’m moderately ticked off. About three weeks ago, I called my Urologist’s office and asked them if I needed to bank any of my blood in preparation for the upcoming surgery. Doing this had been recommended in one of the books I had read and it seemed like a good idea to me as I’m not really interested in running the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis or any of the other diseases that sometimes lurk in our nation’s blood banks. If I could bypass that potential worry by banking some of my own blood, why not? I’ve donated dozens of pints of blood over the past several decades, so the process doesn’t worry me at all. Anyway, the “Scheduling Nurse” at the Urologist’s office said I did not need to; it was unnecessary due to the fact that my surgery was going to be laparoscopic, not open. “Great” I thought, and then dismissed it from my mind.

Stupid me.

Yesterday I received a call from Central DuPage Hospital, the place where I’m going to have the procedure done. The call was from the “Pre-Admittance Nurse” who asked me several questions about my health. During the phone call, she mentioned I would need two blood tests in the next couple of days, one of them being a “Type-and-cross-match” test so they could ensure they had two pints of blood ready for my surgery. ??? Further queries revealed that this blood is normally not needed, but, in case of an emergency, could be called into use. Yet still further queries revealed that there is now no time for me to bank two pints; you need to wait at least 3 full days between donations and you have to wait at least 3 full days from the last donation before you do surgery. I am able to bank one pint, and did this today, but there is no time for a second.

So I’m somewhat pissed off. If the laparoscopic surgery goes sour and they have to convert to an open-surgery on the fly (admittedly a long shot), and I need more than one pint of blood during the process, then I have to take my chances with whatever other blood happens to be available. Great, just great - something else to worry about.

Moral of the story; always bank your blood before surgery, even if they say it won’t be necessary. It’s your body and your life, not theirs…

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