Since my pain was still uncontrolled the doctors suggested that I do an exchange transfusion. An exchange transfusion drains all the blood out of my body and replaces it with all new donor blood unlike a regular transfusion that just pumps donor blood into blood that is already in your body. The picture to your side is of the machine used for the exchange transfusion. These are the in-and-outs of what a sickle cell patient goes through and it's hard. It's unbelievably hard! In order to do the exchange transfusion it takes allot more than what one goe through to do a regular transfusion which just requires an I.V. access. I first have to go to the surgical ward and have the surgical nurses prep me. Once they are done I met with the surgeon who was extremely nice and distracting because who wouldn't be nervous having someone cut into the side of your neck. The surgeon numbed the area of my right neck and inserted the tubed needed to proceed with the exchange transfusion. It feels like allot of pressure as he inerts the tube into my artery. Surprisingly he was done in minutes and without me knowing. I was still anxious about him starting that I didn't realize that he had already finished!
Once done I returned to my hospital room. A nurse is assigned to me for the procedure and begins preparing the machine and the units of blood required for the transfusion. I received 7 bags of blood which are hooked up individually. The goal of the transfusion. I received 7 bags of blood which are hooked up individually. The goal of the transfusion is to have blood that does not sickle.
Unfortunately for me the transfusion did not work and my pain continued. Actually, I ended up getting an infection from this procedure due to the fact that the tube was not taken out of my artery promptly. The tube finally was taken out but I had to received daily I.V. antibiotics for a month.
Though this was a trying time for me it was one of a few options I had to help me with my pain and so I truly had no other choice but to do the transfusion and I honestly would do it again. Sickle cell sufferers are left with little options with them being: pain management, fluids (I.V., oral), and transfusions. So to escape from my pain I would do all three of those daily if it would keep me from enduring the things that I go through!