Well, honestly. You wait weeks for a blog post, and then two come along at once! Isn’t that always the way?

I thought I’d write again to share today’s edition of Neutrophil News: they have reached 0.2! As Harald the Ruthless pointed out, this either means they are going up 0.1 a day or they are doubling. Let’s hope it’s the latter! To put the digits in some context: according to the Medical Dictionary of Wikipedia, normal range is 2.5 to 7.5. Below 1.0 is neutropenic and below 0.5 is severely neutropenic. So I’m not out of the woods yet, and all the fancy isolation stuff is not just for show at this point.

In terms of going home, the magic number is 1.0 although there’s a bit of leeway on that. It also needs to be accompanied by things like being able to eat, drink and what doctors call ‘mobilising’ (i.e getting out of bed and moving around a bit). I’d also need not to be on daily supportive hospital-based treatments like this lovely bag of platelets which I had to have today:


With better lighting, you’d see that platelets look a bit like a pale orange juice. If you’re already a blood donor, you can also become a platelet donor: do look into it! If you’re not sure what platelets are, I can’t really help you much, other than to say that they are important in blood clotting: when you have low platelets, you bleed more easily. 

Mine were low, hence the bag of juice. It turns out that my neutrophils, measly as they sound, are artificially enhanced. They are boosted by the injections I’m given every day of GCSF, generally known as ‘growth factor’ (clearly one of the reasons I’ve been feeling like some kind of dystopian battery-farmed human!) The growth factor kicks the immune system a bit, hence the neutrophils being assisted – but some of the unassisted things like platelets are still too low and hence the transfusion.  

The other point of this photo is to demonstrate the sad fact that the room I’m in doesn’t have a view: those awful Venetian blinds are fixed inside the windows and there is seemingly no way of moving them. So I can’t even really tell what the weather is, let alone see anything interesting. Thanks so much for the offers of wide open green spaces – that’s exactly what I’ve been craving, not surprisingly. My ‘outdoorophils’ must be severely depleted: I’d estimate around -1000. I watched a great episode of Countryfile (no judgement, please!) sometime in the blur of the last week or so, all about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire. As a result, I’m also specifically craving Yorkshire. So willing companions on Yorkshire mini-breaks in the next couple of months step forward! (But other places too, and beyond that timeline! I’m game.)

Yours, looking forward to a Brave New World,

Helga the Great