Isolation. It’s not just a word.

Dec 16, 2014

Day #15

Isolation Day  #5

Since I’ve now been technically in isolation for a few days now I think 5 they’re all running in together, and there’s a few emotions running rampant, all mentioned above by the eloquent Brené Brown.

It’s worth noting it’s not a bad thing, I’m good with my own company (most of the time) and I do have some human contact with the medical staff who are all still first class.

The mostly beautiful nurses – but all kind, arrive bang on time each morning for bloods and and infusion, always with a smile – and not a wake up slap. Nice.

They call in during the day too, and of course Dr. Fedorenko with his magic charm, personable way and professional manner.
I’d heard it all before, but it’s quite different when you’re actually here. Kristy Cruise, you were right.

So unfortunately for you, there’s not a lot of pictures, probably just a few more words to explain this ISO process.

Blood Levels and Isolation? What does it mean?

What do the blood tests Measure?


Haemoglobin – cells that carry oxygen.

Leukocytes – cells that defend the body

Platelets – parts of the blood that help the blood clot.

What does the blood level result look like? Hb – 87 // Leu – 0.11 // Plt 32 *Demonstration purposes only.

What is the measure that determines Isolation is necessary? Leukocytes.

What should I expect once Isolation starts? Leukocytes levels decrease and remain low. It typically takes 6-7 days before the leucocyte level begin to rise and after the engraftment process begins.

What is engraftment?

Engraftment is when the transplanted stem cells enter the bloodstream and make their way to the bone marrow and start making new blood cells.

When is engraftment achieved?

7 – 10 Days


What is the average length of Isolation?

Do Platelets need to stay above a certain level?

Yes, More than 20.

At this time, I’m just playing one day at a time, doing what my body and the medical staff are telling me. It’s no race and I have time to let those stemmas get in and do their thing and start rebuilding my immune system.

This information and more is provided upon your admittance and there are no surprises, just work the plan and be patient.

As for me, I’m doing my thing. I’m allowed a few small personal items, I have a fridge stocked with little (approved) snacks and am fiercely becoming OCD about wiping benches and door knobs. No germ is going to get my healthy stemmies.

My remaining #1 blade cut will fall out over the next few days, but I’m not brave enough to post a photo yet – I may never be because, vanity but here’s a teaser.

I’m also allowed a brief but ever so delightful shower being careful not to get any tubing wet, but I then enjoy the warm towels supplied after. Moisturiser is a must, the air filters are on and skin gets DRY.

When in ISO you’re also given fluids as well as taken bloods, so that means regular trips to the ‘ladies’ room. No big issue, as you have your own private facilities and you don’t cross another soul.

Meals are also provided ALL THE FRIGGING TIME, and pills too so you just create a bit of a routine.

And as quite the fussy eater – though I never really thought it I’ve adapted pretty well and made do with a few condiments to add a little flavour. Who remembers chicken salt?? Bad on the arteries, good on Russian ‘chicken’.

As for exercise I don’t like to overdo it – never have – and don’t have a stair master here, but movement and stretching is good, but i did bring a theraband to help. It’s just my theory not a professional recommendation but a bit of stretching and movement can only help one’s muscle memory (not that I had much of that to begin with) but movement also helps with any fluid in the body and around the Melon (head). Attractive.

Oh, you’re also allowed clean under fashions (knickers / panties / undies / jocks – use your term of choice,  and all your devices – iPads, laptops, iPhones, whatever you have, just have them wiped over for germs regularly.

Otherwise that’s about it. It’s not home, but it’s home for now and I’m as snug as a bug in a rug.

Sheets and karate issue pjs are issued daily so that always feels nice too, looks like you could be in for life – a bit Hannibal Lector if you will, but no. Not the same. I find them kind of comfy. Souvenir perhaps?

Let your body do it’s thing and pretend it’s relaxing and healing in the Bahamas (or destination of choice) without the cocktails. Embrace what your body can do. It’s magic. Oops, there’s that tangent again. Sorry.

Oh today was also nice, there was a break in the sky, i’m not sure i’d call it sunshine, but I repositioned myself to the other side of my chaise lounge (bed) to take advantage of the brighter light and see the snow on the ground – there must have been a breeze overnight to dust the tips off. Sad, but it’ll be back.

Now I wait for my sister Kate to arrive. She’s taken from one tropical holiday to be my sister and friend through the rest of her Christmas and not be back with the kids till Boxing Day. Thank you. I know it’s not a little sacrifice.

It’ll be so wonderful to see her, but strangely not to hug her on Wednesday if I’m not out of ISO yet. We’ll be able to see each other through the double glass doors, and reunification will only be a day or two later. Albeit for masks and gowns etc. But we will be able too take short walks of the hallway, chat and randomly stare at each other again. Kinda like visiting when we’re at home, but not.

A good day.

FSJ xoxo

PS: Just FYI: I’m feeling well. A little lethargic due to those busy stem cells, but no nausea or anything icky. Touch wood. It’s different for everyone, but this is my experience and slow and steady is currently doing me great favours.

PPS: Dr. Fedorenko says he’s happy with me and my progress, so I’m happy with that.

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