Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Solumedrol, then and now

Before it fades in my memory, I want to mention the Solumedrol drip. Almost a decade has passed since my last infusion, so this trip was new territory.

It is my best guess that infusion centers are a result of insurance giants protecting their bottom line. Since we used to have to chip in a sizeable amount out of pocket, we are not complaining about the ride over and back. Reasonable, I guess, although the nurses were not pleased to learn I was alone after a minor "episode."

A liter of the solution used to infuse over a few hours, done by a very attentive home health care provider. I was amazed to see only a very tiny--maybe 250 l.--amount waiting for me. The nurses said it would take one hour, and that they would check with my doctor. Neuro wanted several hours, but agreed to try the new way.

Immediately, my hand swelled up. In fact, both hands swelled up and got very sore and achy. The discomfort left me wondering if something was going very wrong. I say discomfort, because it is very difficult to detect pain these days. This exacerbation has left me in a mess.

In the meantime, MSers were also taking the cure around me. They seemed comfortable, at least in contrast to the many others who were getting, blood, and God knows whatever else was being dispensed there that day. In fact, I watched one MSer come, receive his infusion, and leave, all in the time it took for the nurses to even find a vein to poke in my arms.

Was I a wimp? Well, in ten years I had gotten older. I also developed hypertension and asthma during that time, so things were very different for this old carcass.

About 20 minutes in, I could hardly stand what was now pain. I moved my body, to see if shifting my weight in the chair would help. This made my head light and my stomach sick, and I reached for the wastebasket. There was so much paper and medical waste, that I thought the overworked nurses didn't need a mess to clean, so I straightened up to sit back. The curtain of sparkles fascinated me a second or two before I realized I was fainting.

"Some help over here, please." I am still proud that I maintained full composure.

Chaos ensued. A call went out for more nurses. A call went out for the Rapid Response Team. And seemingly dozens of hands picked me up and placed me into a lounger--my chair. (Later, I would find little bruises on my arms and legs.) The RRT couldn't find the infusion center and showed up when I was fully stabilized. I was not impressed with the RRT.

Of course: "This never happened before." I knew that was coming, because they had told me, and my neuro after me, that they had never had a problem with Solumedrol.

They resumed the drip and we finished over the next hours. The remaining infusions were two-hour drips over the next two days, and were uncomfortable, but uneventful.

So, did I just get old? I think so, because others breezed through. The nurses watched more carefully, and offered food and drink over the next two days. No more troubles.

Maybe I'm just a wimp, after all.

Little Pond

1 comment:

Czes Kulvis said...

Hi pb,

You definitely are not a wimp. That's your reaction to poisoning.

I know - no doctor will tell you that. But look - the same happened to me.

More importantly - there serious confirmations for that. You can find them on pages of my website.

Good luck