Over the weekend, I was working on a couple of posts for MultipleSclerosisCentral.com. None of them are complete just yet and on Monday morning I was trying to finish at least one. I even took my computer with me to the neuro’s office to get some work done while I was tied to an IV pole, but it didn’t work.
Why was I at the neuro’s office? It was time for my monthly dose of IV Solumedrol. The infusion center was packed full. Part of that was due to patients fitting in their treatments before the Thanksgiving holiday (like me), the other part was due to the number of patients experiencing relapses.
I walked in at 9:20 AM and found only one empty chair out of six. The seventh chair was full of pillows and a couple of blankets. These are important items, so they deserve a chair of their own. LOL.
While I have been going to the center for monthly pulse steroid treatments (since July), I’ve been sitting next to a woman receiving monthly IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) treatment. She also has MS and is part of the CCSVI (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency) treatment trial in Buffalo, New York. When I arrived, we traded big smiles and proceeded to catch up on each other’s lives.
As my IV got started, another patient was finishing their bag of Solumedrol. As my favorite IV nurse “J” began her traditional “first-timers” home instructions and “heads-up” on typical steroid side-effects, the room was quiet with the many books and newspapers being read. I got out my computer.
Not long afterwards one of the pump machines began beeping. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Nurse J asks, “ok, whose is that?” At least two people point to me. What? I only got started, I shouldn’t be beeping. So I checked the tubing for bends or kinks. None to be seen, but straightening out my arm got the machine going again. Bizarre.
The premature beeping happened at least three other times. I guess the “kink” in my elbow or the pressure of my forearm on the armrest was just enough to stop the even flow of medication. I worked hard to find an arm position which didn’t cause the accusatory beeping.
Then another patient was done, followed by third. The third guy was somebody in the middle of his Solumedrol round, it being the 3rd of five days of treatment. He was smack dab in the middle of the worse effects. I really felt for him. But Nurse J kindly pointed out how much better his walking had become in just a few short days. He did look pretty steady with his cane.
A new person showed up, this being her first time using IV steroids. Her previous doctor had only prescribed oral predisone before. It was really fun talking to this young woman who is at the beginning of a graduate program in social work. She works as a volunteer firefighter in Baltimore and even saved an abused rescue horse while in her teen years. Very fascinating lady who seems so very comfortable with her diagnosis. She also received the “first timer’s” instructions and with the room being more empty, I chimed in - “and don’t make any big decisions” - to which Nurse J added - “and if you feel the urge to engage in any road rage, make sure that you don’t have any weapons in the car.” We all got a good laugh out of that one.