Today on the Stanford Blood Center’s blog Hemoblogin, Sinead Borgersen shares the touching story of her two-year-old son Faelan’s hereditary spherocytosis diagnosis and she explains why she is thankful to people who donate blood. She writes:
Common childhood viruses have caused Faelan’s hemoglobin to dip to five and below (should be 13-17 in children). So he has needed immediate emergency transfusions. To date Faelan has received three full blood transfusions that literally saved his life. He had gone into anemic crisis where he becomes like a rag doll, pale as a ghost, you can see right through his ears, he can’t lift his head, can’t feed, can’t even cry for what he needs. One of the signs is that he is hard to wake, very sleepy and not responsive. Most parents love that their kids nap or are good sleepers – we have to be careful of him napping too long or being hard to wake as it’s often before he gets sick. Sometimes his hemoglobin dips to eight and he is borderline for a transfusion at which point we wait to see how he responds to medicine or steroids.
The bag of blood though, is like a battery – just charges him right up! I see him pink right up, get more alert, start feeding and getting ready to explore like any normal toddler. When you see him running around and joking and sitting on his brother wrestling, it’s hard to believe he has gotten so sick. We are very blessed as we know it could be a lot worse and it’s very manageable. It’s only manageable, though, because strangers donated blood to give to children like Faelan. Without those magic batteries – he wouldn’t be alive. When he gets his spleen out he will also need a lot of extra blood in the OR and at any time that he gets too sick. I can’t donate as I have the same disorder plus my time in Ireland disqualifies me due to mad cow scare. My husband is in a different blood group than Faelan so we literally depend on the generous hearts and blood of strangers.