I Vant Your Blood

posted in: Sicky 50
Some of the afflictions this miracle tonic says it will cure: Tuberculosis, Pulmonary issues; Diarrhea; Lymph Node issues; Anemia. Image: Wikipedia.
Some of the afflictions this miracle tonic claims to cure: Tuberculosis, Pulmonary issues; Diarrhea; Lymph Node issues; Anemia. Image: Wikipedia.


It’s amazing to me when there are reasons for things. Most of the time, I am tempest tossed, continually bewildered to learn that effects have/had causes. My body is a mystery to me, even now, thirty-some years into having the one I was born with.  I talked to my doctor today and all the strange things that have been happening to me for the past three months suddenly made sense.

First, the strange things:

  • My ice-eating has become almost compulsive. In the past two weeks especially. I crave ice all day. It’s so weird. I wake up in the morning excited about my first glass of ice. It’s never been like this. (I thought I was just being a weirdo.)
  • When I stand up, I have to hang onto something or stay very still for a moment and breathe, otherwise, I’ll stumble and maybe fall. (I thought maybe it was the medicine I’m on.)
  • I’m short of breath. (I thought I was just out of shape.)
  • Even thinking about doing a cardio workout makes me tired. (I thought I was just lazy.)
  • When I sleep, I am out in .2 seconds. When I wake, it’s like emerging from the grave — I have no sense of the night, no sense of having slept, no sense of feeling rested. (I thought I was just behind on sleep.)
  • My limbs are weak-ish. (Any ideas?)
  • Diet Coke is back in my diet because if I don’t drink a couple throughout the day (with ice, of course), I can’t make it. (I thought I was just more addicted to caffeine than usual.)
  • Without foundation and a good amount of blush, “washed out” didn’t quite describe my complexion. (I just thought I was a white girl who had just been through a Chicago winter.)
  • I’ve been blue. (Who isn’t?)

Now, a quick pop quiz, remembering that I call my “hemoglobin” my “hemogoblins”:

Q: What’s a normal hemogoblin level in an adult female?
A: 14.

Q: How low does an adult female’s hemogoblin level need to fall before she needs a blood transfusion?
A: 7.

Q: What’s Mary’s hemogoblin level right now?
A: 7.5.

This explains everything. I’m so tired. I haven’t been posting as much as I usually do because I’m just so tired. I try to make time for everything but it’s like working through mud, sometimes. There’s so much to do, and I was consciously and subconsciously doing the Have To’s and not all of the Very Much Want/Need To’s.

The reason I’m not getting a blood transfusion right now is that my insurance company won’t approve it unless I hit 7. The plan, therefore, is to get an iron transfusion approved and do that first. Me, I’d rather have the blood. Let’s cut to the chase, gentlemen. But it would probably be unwise to twiddle my pale, anemic thumbs until I dip lower and then do my best vampire impression, so I’ll take the iron infusion when they give the go-ahead. That should help. It’ll also cost $750 a pop, even with the insurance, and it usually takes two. Super.

Can I tell you something that is very honest?

I had a moment today after I got the Anemia Update and I wished I was at 5. Because if I was at 5, maybe I could be admitted for a night. Maybe even two. And I could just rest. No one would question it. Not even me.

That’s messed up, I guess. But sometimes, it’s like… It’s like you just need to get off the bus and have someone come in and take your vital signs and help you to the bathroom and bring you gingerale in a little cup with a foil lid.

Maybe you know what I mean.

50 Responses

  1. Melissa Grubb
    | Reply

    You and my sister are so alike medically..not completely, but darn close…

    • Kate Lenihan
      | Reply

      I do know!

  2. Janice
    | Reply

    Feel better.
    I will keep you in my prayers

  3. Deborah Cade
    | Reply

    I took an antibiotic 7 years ago that’s damaged every part of my body. When I get in the sun it feels like my skin is sizzling, so now we’re both part vampire. That’s sucks, hee hee.

  4. Darcy
    | Reply

    I get it. I totally get it. I hope the iiron nfusion helps. I might be headed down the iron infusion path myself. I really hope you get the blood (and the rest)!

  5. Laura_H
    | Reply

    I have Ulcerative Colitis as well…I know exactly what you mean. You got this! You and your doctor have this!
    **Insurance not included in that ‘you got this’.

  6. Brandy
    | Reply

    I totally get it.
    I get iron transfusions too.
    I am anemic and also have no immune system. I have to go every 3 weeks for a IgG Infusion at the Cancer Center for 5-6 hours to give me an immune system from that 3 weeks to the next 3 weeks.
    I catch any little thing.
    I’m sorry you’re feeling so blue.
    I hope you’re feeling better soon. Hugs!

  7. Cindy mizer
    | Reply

    You poor child! I’m so sorry you suffer so much.

  8. Cindy mizer
    | Reply

    Also, I had heart surgery about 28 years ago. During recovery, my doctor kept pestering me to get up and walk, but I’d be so tired and see stars. It turns out I was anemic, too. I had to have a transfusion before I could go home. There are reasons for these things and that’s why we have blood tests.

  9. Lura Cooper
    | Reply

    I had the same problems until I had my hysterectomy. Craving ice is a symptom of anemia. I hope you can get help soon and feel better.

    • Robin Anderson
      | Reply

      the same here and the hysterectomy solved my problems I remember being so anemic I couldn’t walk across the room at 18. Iron pills the size of horse pills three times a day
      I hope you get what you need sooner rather than later

  10. Janet Moore
    | Reply

    Red Flag: Eating Ice. File that one away for future reference, my girl.

    Sending hugs, I’m proud of you for going since we know you weren’t looking forward to even the idea of it.

    What I’m hearing is you are needing an outside yourself reason to take care of yourself. aka: Time in the hospital. We both know that is a load and I can hear your mother from here.

    There is no real reason why you can’t sit back, put your feet up get some rest and let your body heal. Without the added expense of a hospital stay. Schedules get changed every day and people will understand and if they don’t…that can be fixed, too.

    Mary, you are too important to too many people not to take care of yourself.

    Sending hugs your way.

    • Cara
      | Reply

      Well, that took care of everything I came over to say and quite eloquently, too. Thanks, Janet.

    • Melody A.
      | Reply

      Yes, Janet has said it very eloquently. YOU can give yourself permission to take care of your health!! it is that simple. As I tell my grandson, the only person’s actions and responses he can control our his own. so Please DO!

      Put your feet up and stay in your bed and get your friends to bring you takeout!! Take care from Iowa

    • Linda
      | Reply

      Well said, Janet!

    • Linda Duff
      | Reply

      Yes!! Yes!! EVERYTHING that Janet said!! Please take care of yourself. I know the hemoglobin level thing .. mine was at 4 many years ago after the birth of my first child. You have to take care of yourself!
      Love and hugs from Winterset!!

  11. Sany
    | Reply

    So sorry to hear Mary. Thoughts & prayers are with you. Wish I were closer to help, so you could just rest and get stronger. Eat all the iron rich foods you can!

  12. Mary Whitten
    | Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear. Praying fir you!

  13. Annie W
    | Reply

    Mary, you have a schedule that is beyond crazy busy. Even without your health issues, you’d be stressed and exhausted. Keeping you in my prayers..always. Take that rest… please. Big, warm, healing hugs…

  14. Dayna Williamson
    | Reply

    I go once a month and have an iron infusion. Two hours out of my life is worth feeling alive for me. I can relate to everything you listed. Mine is for different medical reasons but hey…we live life as we have to. I just take it in stride now. Insurance companies are terrible. I am lucky that mine doesn’t require that although it probably wouldn’t take me long to drop that low these days. Hang in there. Life has so much to offer and you have so much to offer others.

  15. Colleen
    | Reply

    I do feel you and for you , to just get off the treadmill and have nothing that has to be done .
    Perhaps it’s time to get a few days of just being home, no cooking, cleaning doing anything just order food in and long baths oh and movies any and all that you love.

  16. Kathlene Larson
    | Reply

    Mary Mary Mary. We all love you so much and we know that God is watching over you. We are thankful in knowing thatin time you will be better. I have a chronic illness too and know how hard it is to accept these ebbs and flows in our abilty to live life the way we want. Remain in hope for you are blessed to be loved by so many. We await updates when you or someone updates us.

  17. Gail Klise
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing.
    Good to have answers, it stinks that you have to wait.
    your family loves you, your many friends and fans love you
    And God loves you too.❤️ Hang on. You can do this.
    Raisins and spinach salad for lunch
    And stop drinking Diet Coke — it is poison for everyone.
    Try black or green tea or coffee even…..
    phone a friend. Hee hee
    Grab your favorite quilt and rest!!!!! Or maybe that adorable sock monkey.

  18. Nicole Hannah
    | Reply

    Hugs from a Canadian with free health care. Come for a long visit…you’ve got fans up North!

    Seriously though, hope things right themselves quickly.

  19. Jean Deming
    | Reply

    That sucks! It is so hard dealing with a chronic condition, that keeps morphing as time goes by,. Please keep sharing your lifes experiences, you have such a unique perspective, and I live your writing style so refreshing!

  20. Mary Ann
    | Reply

    Hope the iron helps you at least a little better! And the insurance sucks. We are the only developed nation that lets people spend a fortune just to be well.

  21. Stephanie
    | Reply

    Myelodysplasia perhaps? Suggest a bone marrow test

  22. Nancy Neely
    | Reply

    You’d think an iron infusion would cost more than blood. Rest up and take care of yourself dear Mary!

  23. Brenda Dunn
    | Reply

    Please take care of yourself even if you have to slow down and just concentrate on yourself. You are such a sweet person. I know you can do this and willbe better in no Time! Are you planning on going back on TV to Fonsandporter.com and Porter? I hope so miss you and your Mom ya make a great team.PLEASE take care and keep us updated on everything .

  24. lisa
    | Reply

    I wish my 30 yr old daughter could help. She has too much iron & must have a pint removed each month. She has autoimmune issues & chronic fatigue. Doesn’t seem right for either of you.

  25. Kerry Leach
    | Reply

    Years ago I also used to chomp ice, getting mugfuls at a time. Often I was tired but put it down to racing around with children here there everywhere – but it was anaemia. Never linked the ice bit though – didn’t even tell my doctor that! I can’t even remember why I went to the docs, but a blood test found I was very anaemic and had to take lots of iron tablets. My father and some of his cousins had pernicious anaemia which meant injections I think every 2 months for the rest of their lives, thankfully I haven’t inherited that but had to have tablet boosters from time to time. I haven’t had the ice craving since either.
    Since menopause I’ve not had that problem – other things instead! I guess they didn’t call it a curse for nothing!!!
    All the best for a quick recovery.

  26. Dawn
    | Reply

    Take care of yourself. Sometimes you have to have to focus on yourself. Your health / body are so important. Pamper it- it is what carries you through life.
    You probably don’t remember me from the Northern Star Quilt show-I just wanted to let you know I think you are a delightful person.

  27. Brit
    | Reply

    Pica – the craving of something that has no nutritional value. Your ice eating made me think low hemoglobin right away. We just went through this with our daughter. She wanted me along for her blood transfusion, so I went, grabbed the book I was reading at the time – Dracula by Bram Stoker.

  28. Gretchen
    | Reply

    So sorry you’re dealing with this. Sending good thoughts your way and lots of healing. I have an auto-immune disorder that causes anemia and it’s not fun, nor easy. The hardest aspect of it was allowing myself to accept I needed to rest, take care of myself, and take the guilt away from doing just that. Our bodies tell us in their weird way to take care of ourselves, even if we don’t listen. Hope you feel better soon and the infusion does it’s job.

  29. Mary Lynn
    | Reply

    Wow. And to think you still manage to do everything you do! I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my sister – give yourself permission to take care of yourself for a bit because without you, many people would have a big hole in their lives. Maybe you’ll listen to me because my sister sure doesn’t. I’d give you some blood if I was closer than Texas! Feel better soon, sweet Mary 🙂

  30. Carla
    | Reply

    Mary, I pray you feel better real soon. Years ago I got down to a 9. My problem were many uterine fibroids. Since I was 40 and wasn’t planning on having any more kids I had an hysterectomy. I also craved ice for many years and after my surgery never craved ice again. Praying that the treatments help!
    PS: miss you and your mom on the show.

  31. Cheri
    | Reply

    Praying for you Mary. I know how hard it is to get the help you need. Between insurance and finances it’s the pits.

  32. Nadine Donovan
    | Reply

    Mary- please put yourself first and take care of yourself. We all care for you deeply. I want you to feel better for you!!!xoxoxoxoxoR8UA

  33. Trena
    | Reply

    I know exactly what you mean about eating ice cubes. I craved them after my daughter was born 15 years ago. Several doctors noticed the low hemoglobin count, no big deal, lets just worry about your high blood pressure. hmm. Last year I went in to check all the levels and my new doc caught the low count. She set me up for the transfusions, except I had an allergic reaction to them. Swollen, tingling legs. Laying on floor with feet up just to keep the swelling from increasing, kinda scary. Now I have to take 4- 65mg tablets a day just to keep me from being tired, dizzy, and sleepy. BTW, it changes your body temp from cold all the time to being warm/hot plus your ice craving will reduce or disappear altogether. I am glad you have a doctor that notices and wants you well, as much as we do. Take is easy. HugsXX

  34. Sue S
    | Reply

    DO take care of yourself and I agree with Janet that I can hear your mother now, I’ve been anemic for years. There’s a ton of info out there about dietary iron. It’s so important for women. Here’s what I was told: eat more lean meat, spinach and soy; get more B vitamins and more C, steam your veggies as opposed to boiling; avoid antacids! (Who knew that one?) Avoid the inhibitors — calcium, magnesium, zinc, high fiber, tannic acid. Cook in a cast iron skillet! Use Blackstrap Molasses in cooking, although that is best applied in a cookie or three, or a smoothy. You’re probably more prone to it due to your tummy issues… Remember Geritol? OMG I hated the taste of that stuff, but now it comes in a pill. Where was that when my five year old self had to swallow the liquid version? — I digress. Take care of yourself, Mary. Thanks for shining light on this issue.

  35. MrsB
    | Reply

    I always prefer the devil I know. I’ve had anemia a few times. It really is like being the living dead.
    So… take care of yourself. You’ve had too many things on your plate this year.
    It sounds like you have a great doctor and lousy insurance.

  36. Pam Williams
    | Reply

    Bless your heart.

  37. Sarah
    | Reply

    If you had friends whose blood could be typed and cross-matched to see if it would be congenial with yours, I’ll bet they would be happy to donate a pint with your name on it. Maybe you could even go together for a person to person transfusion. It’s worth checking with the local blood bank (you would need to go in person) to see what might be arranged. I just happen to be type O positive and if I lived in Chicago, I’d be knocking on your door saying “lets go”. Excelsior!

    | Reply

    I am so very sorry you are feeling so bad. I have been worried because you haven’t been on TV with your mom. You 2 are my favorite. My companion of over 40 years died last year but used to yell “grab a pencil”. Funny but I miss it. I’m sure your furry baby would love it if you would just lay on the couch or bed & he/she could lay with you. Wishing I were there to help you, can’t do much but an answer the phone, bring you what you need & take the baby out. Keep all of us posted, they are right, you are loved & missed!!!

  39. Denise
    | Reply

    I know about the ice eating! I went through that! And, kinda ironic,
    (lol, iron-ic), hospital ice is the best ice

  40. Cindy
    | Reply

    I’m praying for you, Mary. As a mom of three girls, maybe you just need your mom to be with you for a couple of days. I realize you are in your thirties but there is no one better than our mom when we are ill. (I realize you live in different states) Much love and many hugs sent your way!


  41. Neame
    | Reply

    Dear Mary,
    First, so glad, so very glad you are finding and getting the medical help you need. Yay!
    Second, Thank you for writing about it. I see myself and my own symptoms in your list of strange things and wonder what has kept me from noticing all that! Time for me to seek help.
    Lastly, but not least, just loving reading your Paper Girl column. Always interesting, often makes me laugh, always worth the time.

  42. Debbie
    | Reply

    I was so anemic once the doctor started looking for cancer. He couldn’t figure it out. Then I developed low thyroid. After a few years of that i developed persistent diarrhea and lost a bunch of weight. Turned out I was gluten intolerant. Once I went gluten free I was immediately much better. Then I did more research, discovered it was actually Hashimotos and switched to natural dessicated thyroid meds . My antibodies are slowly going down. Keep looking for the root cause of your symptoms.

  43. CMF
    | Reply

    I would love to know how the magic number of 7, or 70 here in Canada, was decided. Anyone who as experienced a hemoglobin in the 70 range knows how horrible you feel. Fortunately, in Canada, my doctor was able to make the decision to go with a blood transfusion when I was sitting at 75. She debated whether to do it because I had never had a blood transfusion before. Seeing a 43 yr old who was unable to make it from the parking lot to her office, and who needed to take a nap in the car before driving home, she decided to go for it. Blood transfusions and iron infusions allowed me to return to a normal life. I hope those new hemoglobin are pumping out quickly.

  44. Jen
    | Reply

    Oh, this is so frustrating! After reading your post and saying to myself “yep, been there, done that…probably doing it again today”; I then read the comments. So many people experiencing things that they should not and so many doctors unable to treat properly due to insurance constraints. Take care Mary, you’re not alone!

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