Archives for: August 2009
Many of the patients I care for in the Endoscopy unit where I work have low blood counts and receive blood during their hospitalizations. Since these charts have blood typing slips on them, I always look to see if I can guess the blood types of the patients. I had a whole family of Warrior A's last week that pulled out their blood donor cards as I guessed their blood types. All three were tall men with long heads.
This unit does out-patient blood transfusions as well as endoscopies because the volume of endoscopic procedures has been dropping. Doctors do more and more in the office. In order to make money the hospital accepts short term patients to make up the short fall. These "out patients" (they come in and go out) receiving blood are cancer patients. Each unit of blood takes about 3-4 hours to be transfused so we get to know the patient pretty well over the long days. Many of these people come week after week for blood, usually until they are too sick to come in or die. It is sad when they stop coming and it often takes me and my co-workers a few weeks to realize that the person is gone. However, new patients replace the old ones and the cycle continues.
This week I had a women come in who had stage four ovarian cancer, she was very frail. She needed to receive only one unit of blood and because she was frail I ran the blood over the full 4 hours. Her sister, (I'll call her Sue) and husband were by her side the whole time, holding her hand and encouraging her to drink small sips of fluid. I started a conversation with Sue and asked her some basic questions about herself and her sister's illness. She described how her sister had a swollen lymph node that on further investigation turned out to be stage four uterine cancer. Her sadness about her sisters illness was evident in her voice and posture.
I could see from the blood I was giving her, that the patient was blood type A. I suspected that she was a Teacher genotype and as I touched her fingertips, I could feel that she had very low fingerprint ridges. I also thought that possibly her sister shared her same blood type.
I gently asked Sue, "Do you eat soy by any chance?" She said, "I have it everyday."
My interest was peeked. "What type of soy do you eat?" " Oh I have soy milk everyday in my cereal."
I asked her if she ate tofu or tempeh? She said, "Yes, I eat those too."
I then asked her if she knew her blood type? She said that she was an A.
" I'm an A too," I said.
I asked her if she had heard of the Blood Type Diet?
"Yes, I have, I keep the book on my coffee table. You know my family and friends think I am crazy. I don't talk to anyone about how I eat. They all have something to say about it."
I smiled and knew exactly what she was talking about, at that moment we spoke the same language. Our relationship became deeper, we were two A's sharing a common experience, the Blood Type Diet. Just by having this information I suddenly understood her better.
We talked about Dr. D'Adamo for a few minutes and I told her about his latest book the Genotype Diet, she hadn't heard of it but promised she would read it.
When our 4 hours together were finished, I pulled the IV from her sisters arm and gently held pressure to the wound. Then Sue lovingly dressed her sister for the ride home, we talked briefly about hospice care. I knew this was the last time I would see them.
One last time I encouraged her to make sure she ate her soy. She smiled, and knew exactly what I meant.
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