Needles, tubes, IV poles. A medicine dripping slowing into my veins.
And somehow, I find myself almost looking forward to Infusion Day. It feels almost like - dare I say? - a day at the spa!
OK, so I don't like the reason that I have to get the infusion. And getting an IV placed and being stuck in a chair for hours isn't usually part of the Deluxe Autumn Spa Package. I don't enjoy the prep involved either – getting labs drawn, sometimes an MRI, insurance company issues. But I'm fortunate that I don't have any side effects from my medicine. And I've realized the actual infusion day can be kind of great.
Getting my infusion every six months is nearly a full-day affair. From start to finish it's a pretty solid six hours. But I have learned to enjoy it (though I don't want to share that too widely, since I still like the sympathy from my family when reminding them, "I have to go in for ANOTHER infusion!").
On the day before my infusion (if I remember), I pack my special Infusion Day Kit:
- Fluffy socks
- A blanket or warm, cozy sweatshirt
- Ear buds and music (I have Spotify on my phone, but any music-playing device will work)
- Travel mug (filled with warm herbal tea right before I leave for the clinic)
When I get there, I organize my space, placing everything I need within easy reach. Then I sink into the chair. I can relax. I have all day.
The room is peaceful. The enormous red chair is super comfy. I listen to spa music, usually acoustic guitar. The interruptions are few (if you don't count the inflation of the blood pressure cuff every 30 minutes).
I take a less sedating antihistamine [fexofenadine (Allegra) is best] beforehand rather than the usual Benadryl most people receive. My doctor has let me make that adjustment because I don't want to waste my time sleeping. I bring my laptop and get to work.
I work for a national care management company, and I am immensely grateful that I can work remotely, most of the time. I limit phone calls on infusion days, and I often find that my work is more productive than usual with no distractions.
I get up to make tea – or sometimes the nurses get it for me. I take a short break for lunch, or I eat while watching a webinar.
I feel a quiet, unstated kinship with the other patients, the other MS Warriors. We are united by hope.
At the end of the day, I'm done. No more medicine to take for six months. I've done something important for my health, and now I can try to forget I have MS and move on.