We started our morning at about 5:30 am showering and getting some breakfast for the morning. We arrived at the clinic in Edina at about 7:15 am for my infusion appointment at 7:30 am... this is when my anxiety hit me hard. My faced got flushed, hands started to shake, stomach upset... and worst of all... I kept having to pee (more on that in a bit).
I absolutely adore all of the people that work there. They are so friendly and I couldn't believe that all of them remembered me (I'd only been there once before)... Chris later pointed out that I do stand out in the office as the next youngest person is probably in their 50's. I personally just think I'm that memorable! :) just kidding! Anyways, Mary, one of my favorite RN's helped me, so that helped with the anxiety but my pulse remained at around 126 for the first 2 hours... YIKES! :)
So yeah... Chris and I find a chair, they give me some meds, take my temperature (98.7 whoop whoop!), and then I usually have to run my hands under hot water to pop my veins as they have a hard time finding them... this time that didn't work so the IV was located in the side of my arm which was a little more uncomfortable but not too bad.
Yes... I took a picture so you all can experience this! :)
So yeah... you have to sit there for about 30 minutes while the start your IV with water and then begins the 4.5 hour infusion process of the lovely Rituxin. Yep... each one of these bags is a lovely $20,000... insane isn't it???
Rituxin bag and water flushing bag, below that (not pictured) is a little machine that monitors the quickness of the flow of my IV. Some IV drips can just drip, but mine has to be monitered in 30 minute intervals to increase the speed of the drip.
So yeah... at about 8:30 am we started the Rituxin infusion... which then began the "up down process" as I will refer to it. When I get nervous... I have to pee. So literally for the first 2 hours I was getting up and hobbling around with the above machine to the bathroom... quite the sight and annoyance. But hey... what can you do!?! I think I set a record this time by peeing 6 times in the first 2 hour of my infusion.
The first two hours I also experienced a a slight reaction to the infusion... but nothing to be alarmed about. I just had a hard time swallowing due to a scratchy/itchy throat... 8 hours later I'm still feeling it a little bit, but that happens a lot of times with infusions.
So finally I settled down halfway into the infusion (it was a good thing too as Chris had to leave to use the internet for work-- no wi-fi service) and began to enjoy the movie I brought to watch. Chris brought "The Proposal" for me. Can I just say I LOVE THAT MOVIE! :) I literally laughed out loud numerous times while watching it. The "Get Low" scene where Sandra Bullock and Betty White are "giving thanks to mother earth"... I don't know why but I can so see my mom and I doing this 30-40 years down the road... Can't you picture Marsha in a headdress??? Just kidding, but funny thought.
Here is my view for 6 hours... the chairs are pretty comfortable.
After the Rituxin bag is empty, you go back to the water bag to flush the system for about 30 minutes. After that Chris and I went and grabbed a quick lunch... where I almost feel asleep at the table. We grabbed a little Starbucks (Chris was tired and still had to keep working the rest of the day) and headed home where I proceeded to take a bath and drink an iced carmel macchiato (one of my favs). I then opened the bedroom window and took a nap... I was so tired mentally and physically and my headache started (I usually get those for a couple of days after the infusions).
I think a lot of my anxiety came from the "unknowns".... what if this doesn't help more like its suppose to and I have to go back up on prednisone??? I can't stand being tied to a chair either and that is literally what you feel like for 6 hours. All in all... it wasn't bad, but I do hate going there as it just reiterates the feeling of being SICK! :( A lot of people around me are noticeably sick and have issues other than just rheumatoid reasons, granted most of them are elderly. I talked with a lady that has RA and her knuckles were literally swollen 2 inches. Its hard to look at people like this and think "that might be in my future." But hey... I did it and I'm focusing on the fact that I still feel good! The next oneis in two weeks and my mom is coming up for it... which is great as she talks a lot and it'll give Chris a break!
Thanks so much for all the phone calls, e-mails, text messages, etc. It truly means a lot! The next couple of days I'll most likely be taking it easy and the infusions tend to take a lot out of me... luckily I have fun "projects" to keep me busy! I'll keep you updated!