Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic Anemia — Part 1

Aplastic Anemia is a blood disorder which involves a low count of all three blood cell types, red, white, and platelets. That is the simplest way to describe it. My story is a long one. I will tell it in parts.

I do not remember the month of December, 1999. I know it happened, but I cannot remember what happened. I do not remember my mother’s birthday, Christmas, or what I did that New Year’s Eve. The memories I have of that month are sketchy. I can remember being at work (I worked at McDonald’s in high school). I can remember being in the freezer downstairs going to get something, and someone would come looking for me 30 minutes later to find me standing there staring off somewhere. It was like I had dementia. I forgot where I was and what I was doing. I had a bad cough. I thought it was bronchitis (at worst), and was intent on riding it out. I never wore a coat outside when it was winter, so I wasn’t worried. I never was sick before this month. I had intense shortness of breath, going up one flight of stairs. I attributed that to the cold I had. I never thought I was actually sick. I was an athlete. I played baseball, ran cross country, wrestled, and played basketball. I was also cocky. A cold would not stop me from my day to day activities. This is also when my nosebleeds started.

Finally, my mother, being tired of hearing me cough, set up a doctor’s appointment. January 4th, 2000: one of the longest days of my life. I went to school like always; the first day back after break. I then went to the hospital for my appointment. The doctor said it was probably heartburn. He gave me Zantac and said we would go from there. I then said the words, which probably saved my life, “Will this take away my dizziness?” The doctor then said I looked a little pale, and sent me to have my blood drawn. Not five minutes after my mother and I walked into our house, the doctor called with the results. He urgently told us to get me to the emergency room; my blood count was “non-existent.” We asked if it could wait until the next day, not knowing the seriousness of the nature of the problem. We were again, told to get me to the emergency room and that I would need to be hospitalized. Still not having grasped the gravity of the situation, we stopped by McDonald’s to get something to eat and to tell them I could not be at work the next day. It was around 6 o’clock that evening when we finally pulled into the hospital parking lot.


  1. “Will this take away my dizziness?”

    Wow. I am amazed it got to the point where you had to ask the doctor that question. A blood count should have been done the minute you stepped into that office.

    • I agree. But I was not complaining of dizziness when I first arrived. I was a “MAN” and hated being seen as weak…I just had a “cough.” I was 18 and stupid. But those words ultimately saved my life. This is a long story, but I encourage you to continue reading and then check out the Aplastic Anemia Blogroll.

  2. […] am reminded of my days dealing with Aplastic Anemia.  It was a very long year.  I spent 5 weeks in isolation.  I had to put my life on hold.  It […]

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