At 830 am Wednesday morning, Husband found himself sitting in the waiting room of the Stanford Endocrinology Department with one incredibly tightly wound and freaked out wife. Time to learn how to self-administer that new medication. Kill me now.
I've got a really great doctor at Stanford,and the Nurse Practitioner, Olivia, is pretty cool too. She was the one who showed us all the ropes a few days ago. I was a nervous wreck, as witnessed by my blood pressure and pulse rate prior to going in the office. Olivia talked us both through what the new medication (Sandostatin) does, what kind of side effects you might get, and what were dangerous things to look for. On the desk were some hypo needles, alcohol wipes, bandaids, and bottles of medication lined up in formation.
She also had an orange, with which to practice injecting on. Nervously I joked about how I'd been all worked up, and to find only that I was simply going to be administering medication to fruit! Silly me! Ha, ha, Look at me, I'm terribly witty! She was pretty understanding. Well, until I later cracked a joke about my disappointment that I wouldn't have to dig around for a vein - "But track marks are cool!" - at which point she just looked startled. Then she smiled and made some comment about getting rid of nervous energy. Maybe the the sound of the char rattling under my vibrating body was a clue; I'm not sure.
So, first find some fat. Thighs are good, and the belly was also suggested. Shudder. Thank you, no. That's right up there with askingme to jab myself in the eye as far as I'm concerned. Saddlebags it is. Pinch some fat. Jab in at 45', and deploy plunger. May encounter some stinging, but nothing too bad.
Injecting the orange? Dude, I'm a pro. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. After doing it twice myself and Husband once, there is NO WAY That orange will EVER have issues with growth hormones. Ever. It didn't bleed or cry or anything either. I was quite impressed by its stalwardness. Then came my turn.
I dropped trou, wiped everything off, and drew the medication into the syringe. Unfortunately, there was a bit of bait-and-switch at this point: when I used the orange (and when I get home,) the bottle I use will be full strength, so I'll only have to draw .25 mL, or one quarterful of the syringe. In the office, the stuff Olivia had was diluted, so I had to draw a full syringe full of this stuff. Dear god.
I must've sat there trying to psyche myself up for nearly 3 minutes, which felt more like 30 minutes. Finally I managed to override my brain and stuck myself in the leg. Pretty much missed the 45' part, but it was in and I was in no danger of ever getting through all that fat to hit a vein or muscle, so no harm done. It took another 2-3 minutes to inject all the stuff because I kept stopping or going incredibly slow to keep the stinging to a minimum. I started feeling really nauseated, and squished the last 20% or so in real quick so I could lie down. Ugh, I did it, hooray! Can I throw up now?
Truly, I spend most of my day to day life avoiding things like needles and pins. In my line of work/school, that's truly not even an exaggeration. Luckily I've only had to give myself one injection since then (its a super crazy specialty drug and I'm encountering some difficulty finding out where to get it and how to get insurance to cover it.) I will do it regularly like I'm supposed to once I have vial in hand, though. Maybe I'm imagining it, just trying to find something that's not there, but I think I did feel better after it kicked in. And it did seem like I did go back to feeling crappy after 5-6 hours, which is about how long the stuff works. And even if it is some placebo effect, fine. I felt better; I'll take it any way I can.
Oh, but did I forget to talk about the side effects? Silly me. So far I've encountered two normal ones (and no sign of any of the dangerous ones - whew!) First, nausea. I'm sure some of this is jsut nerves as I inject myself, but it lasts for like an hour, and even when I try to consciously relax my tummy to feel better, there's not much there to relax. So I'm chalking that up to the med itsself. Then there's the other side effect. This medication is prescribed for several different ailments, one of which being to stop chronic diarhhea. Great for those who have it! Funny thing though; if you don't have it, you will after taking this medication. Oh yeah!! I get to have diarhhea for the next month until surgery! You're jealous, I know, but try to contain yourself. My intestines fairly sing these days, and there's enough bubbling and gurgling going on down there to make me wonder if I hadn't accidentally ingested the unsuspecting scuba diver from that urban legend: instead of being found dead in the midst of a forest fire, he'll be found floating face down in my bathroom!
So, that's the skinny. I'll probably get more and more used to it (really, you can hardly feel the needle prick, and going slow keeps the sting-y bits at bay) as this goes on. Failing that, Husbnd is well-versed in what needs to happen if I can't. And who knows, maybe this stuff does work after all and isn't just a literal pain in the butt. But I'm keeping the orange until surgery. I've decided its my security blanket. And we already have such a history together, it would be a shame to cannibalize such a good friend....