Secular Stigmata


I was sitting at my computer on Wednesday night and suddenly realized my arm was bleeding. The same thing had happened twice before in the last few days. Had the blood been on my hands, I could have claimed stigmata, of which there have been more than 500 recorded cases; the most famous involving St. Francis of Assisi. But it’s actually a secular condition known as petechiae.

Petechiae are tiny subcutaneous dots formed by blood seeping from the capillaries. They are caused by thrombocytopenia—a low platelet count. I mentioned this in my post of April 3rd when my count was 62,000 cells/mm3. A normal count is between 150,000-400,000.

After two days of stem cell collection, my platelet count had dropped to 15,000, hence the spontaneous bleeding. Any lower and I would have had to have a transfusion before coming home.

Not to worry. Since our bone marrow turns out about 1×1011 new platelets daily I’ll be in the pink—a figure of speech since platelets are colorless—by Monday.

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