Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flashback Episode...

So I was going through some of my old posts and it made me think of this piece, which I wrote and put up somewhere else. If you've already read this, read it again. Is it really that hard?

Adventures in Babysitting... strike that, Adventures in Avonex

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 4:49pm

So today was the day I started my treatments with Avonex, the non-cure drug that may or may not alter the progression of my MS. I watched the infomercial, I mean instructional video explaining what's wrong with me. How I'm supposed to help myself deal with this burden. Good God, it was so condescending! Maybe I shouldn't have gotten an education and then I wouldn't mind being talked to like a child. You felt alone? I feel alone too, Ann Marie! Hey, do you want to go halfsies on a Snuggie?

I don't know why they make patients watch this video anyway, considering we live in the age of information. Easily accessed information. I did all the research I wanted, learned what I felt I needed to know, and the rest I could care less about. That could explain the feelings of hostility. The hatred toward the video. Then again, it could just be my degree in film and the video's lack of production values. These people are so wooden. Please take some of that MS research money and hire Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis. Sure, it may lose some authenticity, but maybe after watching for five minutes I won't want to drill a hole in my head.

So after praising the Lord that the infomercial had come to an end, the RN came to talk to me about everything I learned in those 20 or so minutes. In detail. FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF. Seeing as I am generally a respectful person, in public at least, I nodded and kept so many thoughts to myself - Why are you repeating everything in the video? Can you keep your silly personal anecdotes to yourself? What do I have to do for you to give me the Avonex and let me go home? I know this stuff is probably very helpful for people who never bothered to look into their own disorder, but when it was "just a possibility" that I had Multiple Sclerosis I wanted to know all about it. I did the reading. I talked to people. Any questions I had, I looked for answers. At this point, when you've made the decision to start injecting yourself, shouldn't you know most of this already? Especially the whole "What is MS?" question. I didn't need to go over that for 45 minutes.

So finally I get to the meat of this whole session, the actual injection. I'm not going to lie, the thought of sticking myself with a needle gave me quite a bit of anxiety. I've got no problem with the medical professionals poking at me with needles. They know what they're doing (at least most of them do). I'm an immature, snarky goofball who has no business playing with needles. Serious business! That's what I scheduled my appointment for - to learn how to stab myself... safely. I take my box of Avonex and the nurse talks me through all the steps to keep things sterile and safe. Now that's something I appreciate. Step by step she guides me through what will now be my weekly ritual. Washing hands, setting up a little area, the joy of sitting around with my pants off... Great times!

Then, like John Travolta over Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, it was the moment of truth. Needle in hand, I took care of business. It was actually very easy for me, and it's such a relief for me to know I won't have any problem doing this on my own. Proud of myself, I soon put my pants back on (awww...), grabbed my stuff, and left on my new journey as an Avonex user. Did I encounter any side effects? Mostly nausea and a minor headache. It was only a quarter dosage though, since I am easing my way into the routine. Ask me later and I might feel different, but for now I'm not regretting this new step in my MS adventure.

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