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I found out I was anemic in January when I went for a workup at the GI doc's for unexplained changes in bowel habits.....tons of diarrhea and tons of frequency. I also have something called ankylosing spondylitis which is a form of inflammatory arthritis. My GI did a colonoscopy to check for Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. He did find colitis, but believed it was due to the prep.

I continued to have some bowel problems although they normalized over time in February. I did return to my PCP a couple of times because I continued to have nasty stomach pains. My GI also did an EGD (scope down into the stomach and into the duodenum) and capsule endoscopy which is a camera that travels through the small intestine. Nothing was found. IBD is often found when one has AS.

Since my iron level was quite low last month, I was put on iron which greatly upset my stomach. I stopped taking the pills; however, I started having more severe problems-----went up three flights of stairs two Fridays ago, was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top, and couldn't talk for two minutes until I could catch my breath. My legs hurt and I am extra tired. I've probably had three naps since I got up this morning. Shopping at Wal-Mart in a leisurely pace tired me out too and I only went to pick up what I need.

My ferritin level was less than 1 last week. :eek: I had bloodwork done at the rheumatologists on Monday and he faxed the results right over to my PCP whom he knew I was seeing this week.
RBC 3.11 L
HGB 7.4 PL
HCT 24.0 PL
MCV 77.5 L
MCH 24.0 L
RDW 18.0 H
PLT 529 H
MPV 6.8 L
Ferritin <1
From all I've been able to gather, this is a microcytic anemia consistent with iron-deficient anemia. The platelets rise as the RBC's go down.

While I have had a small non-healing bloody nose since February. I don't get big honking bleeds. Sometimes it hurts like crazy. However, I still appear to be bleeding from somewhere since the anemia appeared befor then????

My PCP called me Tuesday and sent me to the hospital obstensibly to get a transfusion. The labs had come back critical low on the Hgb/Hct.

The ER decided that I didn't need to get the transfusion since I didn't have angina or heart disease. Although they talked to a doctor in the office, they did not speak directly with my doctor, which ticked me off.

So, Friday, I saw my PCP who was flabbergasted about the lack of a transfusion. He's ordering at least two units of blood for Tuesday. I have to go on Monday for the type and crossmatch. He said that if they are dragging their feet about getting this transfusion done, he'll be admitting me. :eek: :rolleyes:

So, what's a blood transfusion like? What's the prep before? Do they use a regular vein or the big one in the elbow crease? Am I going to be hooked up to the blood pressure cuff all the time? Will I feel better right away? What else are they going to do if I can't get my iron levels, Hct/Hgb back up?

I know they've made the blood collection process better, so I'm not worried about that so much, but I am scared. Thanks for reading through this long note. I appreciate it!

Elaine





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