I was diagnosed with MDS almost two years ago. When clinical trials and chemotherapy failed I was put on a regimen of blood transfusions, initially monthly, and currently every two weeks. I initially received my transfusions at Fair Oaks and once in the emergency Room of Fairfax Hospital. At Fair Oaks, the transfusions were done in a normal hospital room environment. The average time for 2 units was about 7 hours but one that took 10.5 hours. There was always difficulty with the nurses trying to inset the catheter so I was often “stuck” 5 or more times.
More recently, I have been receiving my transfusions every two weeks at the IFH Woodburn Infusion Unit. This facility is ideally suited for conducting theses transfusions because they are excellently facilitated in terms of physical facilities, administrative and medical staff. They have always been prepared to admit me right on time and the transfusion process was always completed in less than 5.5 hours. The nursing staff, across the board, is excellent, however, Nurse Barbara Nolan stands out among her very competent peers by mastering all aspects of the transfusion process. Each time she was my assigned nurse she performed the following functions in a highly professional and sensitive manner.
Admission. She would get me settled in a reserved cubicle as soon as my wife and I arrived.
Preparation for transfusion. After quickly signing me in, she very quickly inserted the catheter and started the sodium chloride drip. At this time, she also asked many questions to determine the state of my health and mental outlook. She also made sure that my wife and I were comfortable and always offered us refreshments.
Setting up the blood units. Barbara would always have the blood units available to connect me up very quickly.
Throughout the transfusions she took my vital signs and recorded them in a very timely manner, always commenting on the meanings of the readings to let me know that the process was going well. During the process I would let her know our expected dates for the next couple of transfusions. Barbara would always get us the appointment times we proposed and provided them to us in writing.
We found Nurse Barbara Nolan to consistently be a very caring and warm caregiver. My wife and I were always made to feel welcome and we always left knowing we were given the best care possible.