I’m so happy – today, Friday, June 26, 2015, I’m having my arthritis treatment. Every 4 months, I have an infusion therapy of chemotherapy, and it works wonders. Of course, it takes a few weeks to kick in, but it is what it is. It’s still better than not being on a working treatment at all!
Anyway, I felt like it would be appropriate to discuss how to make infusions – chemotherapy or otherwise – easier. If you’re asking, “What is infusion therapy?”, it’s when you have an IV in and receive medications directly to your bloodstream. I know that there are tons of patients who receive an infusion of some kind, and there are even more who might receive one at some point in their life. I hope that you can take my experiences (today’s infusion will be my tenth) and make your life easier!
At least 24 hours before your infusion, start drinking a ton of water. The more hydrated you are, the better your veins are for having needles in them, and that makes you more comfortable for receiving your medication. I always am sure to drink as much water as possible in the 24 hours leading up to my infusion, and it makes a huge difference.
I also suggest avoiding caffeine that day. In most cases, you’ll be given a heavy dose of Benadryl to counteract any possible allergic reactions. If you don’t have caffeine, it will knock you out and you’ll sleep through most of the the infusion. If you do, you’ll be really tired but unable to actually fall asleep. Talking from personal experience here, so take that as you will.
The day of your infusion, there are several things you’ll want to have with you. Definitely have a list of your medications, as many times they will go over that. You’ll also want things to do. I used to bring a whole big bag of things, but now that I’m a couple years into this, I’m pretty much just bringing my computer and a book. I really don’t need anything other than that, especially if I sleep through the first hour or two. What and how much you bring will depend on how long you’ll be at the hospital, so definitely check that out beforehand.
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I also suggest that you bring some snacks. Many people will feel a little off during or for a few days after their infusion, so you might want to make them bland snacks like rice cakes, chips, etc. If you’re going to be at the hospital for at least 2 hours, you’ll probably get hungry at some point.
Make sure you also wear comfortable clothes. I usually go for yoga pants and a t-shirt or athletic shorts and a t-shirt. And I always, always have a sweatshirt. Hospitals get cold, man! (Oh, and you can ask the nurse to use one of your wrist or hand veins instead of your elbow if you want to wear the sweatshirt on both arms! If you’re hydrated enough, your veins should be good enough for that.)
Last but not least, have someone to take you home. Don’t take yourself home if possible. You’ll be tired and uncomfortable and perhaps still affected by Benadryl.
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