View Full Version : New concern--surgery scheduled 2 weeks from today

05-18-2009, 11:11 AM
My daughter gave blood 2 weeks ago and didn't have a good experience. You can read the thread under "Blood donation #1."

So this morning she gets up and gets her period--the first after the blood draw 2 weeks ago. About 1/2 hour after she's up, she tells me that she feels like she did when she had blood drawn. She was very pale, heart racing, nauseous (did throw up), and had *very* bad menstrual cramps.

This is NOT typical for her--she gets twinges sometimes w/her period and hasn't had cramping in about 3 years. She NEVER gets as pale as she did.

She did not faint, however, nor did she say she felt faint.

Took her downstairs, laid her on the couch and put a cool compress on her head (she said she felt warm). Beforehand, took her temp. 97.9 degrees. Gave her a hot water bottle (warm) for her abdomen.

After a couple of hours, she said she felt a lot better, ate breakfast, and has pretty much been ok since.

I have a call into her GP and also the surgeon. I am not sure what to do other than I do feel this is related to her blood donation (her hemoglobin was 12.7 the day of the draw).

She never did give a 2nd pint--and I'm very glad now she did not.

Any suggestions as to what this could be or questions to ask her GP?


05-18-2009, 02:28 PM
Hi Marian,
The only thing can think of is low iron. How are you guys doing with the impending surgery?

05-18-2009, 02:31 PM
Hi Marian,
The only thing can think of is low iron. How are you guys doing with the impending surgery?

Not well, Bethany, not well.

05-18-2009, 03:33 PM
Low iron sounds right, for cramps try fruit and Veggies, make sure she is getting enough vitamins and nurtients. If she feels up to it exercise can also help, even just going for a walk.
Good luck I hope she is doing okay and things get better. :)

05-18-2009, 06:10 PM
Did your daughter have pre op today?

05-18-2009, 06:21 PM
Is she taking Iron? AFter my blood donation (only one) I took Slow FE which didn't upset my stomach or constipate me either. Good luck to you and your daughter.

05-18-2009, 11:49 PM
The kind of iron I used during my pregnancies and that I gave to my son before his surgery is called Floradix. You can get it at a vitamin or "health food" type store. It's a relatively tasty syrup made from high iron veggies and fruits. It's non-constipating and is absorbed very well by the body.

My son had a terrible experience giving blood before his surgery too. He was on the verge of fainting with his eyes rolling back and he fell over to his side. Luckily I caught him and a medic-type person ran over. We ended up staying for a couple of hours to rehydrate him (he had not had enough to drink prior to the blood draw) with oral liquids and IV saline.

He didn't even need the blood during the surgery and it was discarded!

Hang in there, you're really in the worst part of the whole surgery experience. It will get much easier to cope with everything even during the surgery, and especially afterwards.

05-19-2009, 08:33 AM
Sheena also had a very difficult time with the first donation, she too almost passed out and only gave a single partial unit which she did receive. I think the length of the fusion has a lot to do with how much blood loss there is. She could have used another unit, but we asked the surgeon to only give off the shelf blood if it became critical. She came home with a Hgb of 8.4 but it worked out ok. Probably took 3-4 months to build her blood level back up to normal.

I gave her Floradix (on Laurie's recommendation) in the a.m. and a non-constipating iron tablet in the p.m. prior to and after surgery.

I was a mess in the months before surgery but the last week or so, I actually had a calmness and acceptance that came over me.
Take care and best wishes.

05-19-2009, 07:15 PM
Thanks all!

I was told to have her stop *all* supplements 10 days prior to surgery, but I'm going to recheck this with her GP and surgeon again tomorrow. I don't see where Iron would hurt and most likely help.

Yes, she did have her pre-op today. They took 5 vials of blood for the tests and she did just fine. We kept her hydrated the whole time and the only side effect wast that she had to pee a lot more. :D

Her GP ordered a bunch of tests that we took with us to Georgetown today. I didn't think they'd do them b/c where we live we have a little podunk hospital in a small time.

But they took the vials and did the tests he ordered. He asked that the results be faxed to him stat, so he most likely will get them sometime tomorrow.

We will then have a follow up physical with him on Friday. She also will get a pulmonary test with her allergist tomorrow.

We talked to 3 nurses + the chief of anesthesiology (the anesthesiologist who's assigned to her surgery got called into surgery, so we had to make do with the head of the dept.) and explained all about Paula's allergies. They all took these very seriously which helped a lot. I basically told them that they would have to watch everything b/c if she was reacting to anything, they would not know what it could be--whether it was medications or medical tape.

So we will see what her tests show. I really hope things are fine.

Will keep everyone posted! Thanks again!

05-19-2009, 07:25 PM
PMSmom, I am in the same boat as you except we decided not to give blood. Mainly because it is a 5 hour drive and the school nurse said she honestly thinks blood bank blood is safe. We were also told she might not even need blood. I worry about what might happen because she didn't even give her own blood.
I also worry about allergies and my Emily too. She breaks out all over when she wears cheap jewelry and she is allergic to sulfa drugs. She is also my antibiotic kid. It seems like she gets sinus infections or strep throat at the end of every six weeks. She can take about six weeks of school and then she gets an infection! In fact she is taking a Z-Pack right now for a sinus infection. It is NINE days before surgery and she needs a Z-pack. I called her ortho and they said to tell them at the pre-op. Our pre-op is the day before surgery. Yes, I am freaking out a little too. I just hope all the antibiotics from the past don't make the strong IV antibiotic useless. I'm sure everything will be okay. We leave a week from today to get pre-op at 8:00 in the morning. She is going to an amusement park the day we leave and I'm also worried about sunburn. How do you make a 14 year old apply sunscreen every hour when all they are thinking about is the next ride and cute boys?
I don't want her to miss it because she has worked so hard this year and she will spend most of her summer recovering from surgery. These are my worries. You are NOT alone! I hope for perfect and successful surgeries for our kids!
Mom to Emily 14
Surgery scheduled May 28 T2 to T11
Curves 51T and 43L

05-20-2009, 09:22 AM
Iron supplements were recommeneded to my daughter for 3 months prior to the surgery date. She did not donate her own blood but did need it from the blood bank after her surgery. She had two units because she did end up losing a lot of blood as a result of needing two surgeries rather than one.

She was taking liquid iron supplements from the health food store.

05-20-2009, 08:25 PM
Dear Becky,

Don't feel badly about not giving blood. I just thought of something today that I have to call the surgical nursing again tomorrow--when she gave her blood, she had been on fish oil (we use natural things to help her asthma), so even though we stopped that supplement at the end of April, she was only off of it a week before she gave blood. Fish oil is a blood thinner, so I don't know if that will affect her being able to use the blood she gave or not. :(

It sounds like our girls will be fused at the same levels, too, except my dd doesn't have a lumbar curve. Won't your dd have a fusion into the lumbar region? I don't know about lower curves, so don't freak out. :)

We will see the GP again on Friday to go over all the lab work that he ordered. I'm sure he has the results as my dd was at her allergist's today and he had the chest x-ray report that was done at her pre-op yesterday. He wants to see her blood work results as he told me her thyroid felt puffy to him. Oy, vey! He didn't say anything originally when examining her, but when I showed him the lab sheet with all of the testing that was ordered, he said he was interested in the thyroid test b/c her thyroid felt puffy. Otherwise he wouldn't have said anything. Can you imagine?

I'm thankful that her pulmonary test came back ok--she has asthma and she's doing well, thank God.

Where is your dd having her surgery?

Btw, I'm Marian. :)

05-20-2009, 08:27 PM
Iron supplements were recommeneded to my daughter for 3 months prior to the surgery date. She did not donate her own blood but did need it from the blood bank after her surgery. She had two units because she did end up losing a lot of blood as a result of needing two surgeries rather than one.

She was taking liquid iron supplements from the health food store.

I'm still waiting for the surgeon and GP to get back to me on this. The GP should have her blood work from pre-op as he asked them to do the work and put "STAT" on the order.

Thanks for the input, Karen.

05-21-2009, 07:30 AM
Latest update, Thursday (5/21) morning:

Paula's pre-op bloodwork came back with her hemoglobin being at 10.9 (12-16 is normal range). The day she donated blood, it was 12.7. We had been told by the surgeon's nurse practitioner, the person who drew the blood, and the nurses at pre-op that she would build her reserves back up by her surgery date of June 1 (she gave blood on May 5).

Her general doctor said that the numbers on her bloodwork indicated
something that is *not* an iron-deficient anemia. So he will be ordering
more bloodwork and has a call into her surgeon to discuss this.

I'm trying to look at the bright side that this happened now, but something else is going on that will need to be addressed before the surgery. :(

05-22-2009, 09:52 AM
I hope all is better with your daughter. I am at the freak out stage right now. I work at a school and backed into a parked school bus yesterday. Thankfully, no kids were around and my car just has a little scratch. I was taking my daughter to a friends house and drove right past her house. I have to keep making lists or I will forget what I need to be doing. I'm feeling very overwhelmed at this point and very aprehensive. I'm sure you feel the same way!
My daughter's surgery is at Cook Children's in Fort Worth. Pre-op is one day before. (Wednesday, May 28) I'm okay with the amount of fusion because we have been to two SRS doctors and they both said the same T2 to T11 or 12. The bottom curve should staighten itself. She will just be crooked for a while as her body adjusts. The only thing I didn't like that one Dr. said is that we might be buying time until she needs a second surgery and he was making an educated guess. The bending xrays look very postive for the lumbar curve to staighten on its own though.


05-22-2009, 12:36 PM
I am happy for you that the doctors think that the bottom curve will correct itself. That is wonderful!

I understand about the freaking out part--I take my notebook everywhere--that's the only thing I can control. We were getting into the groove with getting clothing, shower bench, potty chair, etc.

Got a call from our dd's GP today--more blood tests ordered to find out why she's not making red blood cells sufficiently. Transfusing blood into her to bring up her count will not take care of the underlying cause of why she's not rebuilding these cells on her own. And he said that it could affect her ability to heal from the surgery if her body can't make those red blood cells. I feel my dd will already be at a disadvantage b/c of all of her medical allergies, so I think we better get an answer to this new problem.

In fact, the GP said her protein levels were low, too. He asked if she were a vegetarian and I laughed and said no. Just this week alone b/c we had an episode with the near fainting when her period started, she's had 3 burgers from Hardee'--the big 2/3 lb. ones! And her hemoglobin is still 10.9.
All other tests came back fine--just the hemoglobin and protein were out of whack.

The order for the blood we had drawn today is STAT, but I don't think I'll hear from the GP til Tues. Why did it have to be a holiday weekend? :confused:

05-22-2009, 12:40 PM
It was a very surreal feeling for me too for about a week or two before my son's surgery. It was sort of like a trance feeling. It started going away during during the surgery and reality began to hit again.

I've said this before but what was really helpful for me during the surgery was to have a little notebook and write everything down. Everything from doctors, nurses, support staff names, to meds, times of everything reported or about to happen, every contact with anyone who seemed involved and important. Alexander still likes to look at it now.

I wish you both, and your daughters, all the best.

05-30-2009, 02:30 PM
My son had fusion of T4-T12 10 days ago. I too was a wreck before the surgery. My husband and I did a directed donation and due to mess ups at the Red Cross they could not use my donation. They were able to get a donation from my husband. It worked out that my son never even needed the donation from my husband and we donated it to the hospital. So I would not worry too much about the donation you have- it may not even be used. I would like to add that my son is doing great- He went home 5 days post op and can climb stairs to his room without assistance- ( we do walk behind him to spot going up and hold hands going down) I was amazed at how quickly he was up and doing well. He was not able to eat for 4 days post op because his gut wasn't producing gas- but as soon as he could eat he was asking for pizza! His post op pain is managable (mild) and is controlled with the prescription pain medication given to him at discharge. He does not need more than 3-4 doses of Percocet a day. I hope this reply will help you with your fears and I hope the surgery for your child goes as well as ours did.