Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday Morning

What a beautifully gorgeous Monday yesterday was. Clear blue skies and the perfect temperature to be out and about.

Well, that's not the office. I had to go to the lab and have more blood drawn. So many things have to be monitored when you have an auto-immune disease. I don't know what all the things are when I get the results back, but I have developed an understanding of what the values mean. It's a rare doctor visit that doesn't result in some sort of blood test. I have to ask Dr. Francis, "Are you sure I don't need blood work this time?" I'm just not used to not going to the lab.

Hence, my Monday started with a visit to the Outpatient Clinic at the hospital to have more blood drawn. The new RA medication we're going to try has specific requirements before you can take it. I've been approved but they needed to know I did not have TB, for starters. These kinds of drugs lower your body's ability to fight off infections. You can't start them if you have TB. My test came back negative.

The next thing I need to be monitored for is cholesterol. These drugs increase your cholesterol. I have to have a test before starting and then a month after starting to see how much they raise my levels. Low cholesterol runs in the family (Thank you genes.) so I'm not real worried about that side effect.

I am getting a flu shot this year for the first time in about 6-7 years. I don't go anywhere there are large groups of people with the potential to have someone be sick. And we are encouraged not to come into the office if we are sick. I tend to stay in my corner and not venture out if I hear someone with the sniffles. Even if I didn't have RA, I don't want your cold. A compromised immune system and the flu is a recipe for disaster and with my RA taking another step forward, I finally felt my introvertedness and tendency to be alone wasn't going to be wholly successful in fighting off anything. It's good that I don't mind needles.

Needing to find gratitude in all of this, I decided I was grateful for having an understanding employer. I was grateful that I could sit and read, when I walked up to the lab and found 15 people in the waiting area. Three more pages ticked off in my current book. I debated on whether to bring the book or the magazine. I decided that I don't have much left in the magazine and it could be a wait on a Monday morning so the book was a better choice. I didn't wait that long. I was surprised.

I am also grateful for walking into the lab room and seeing a technician I've had before. She looked at me and said, "You!" I looked at her and then looked away and said, "Who? No, it's not me." She laughed. "Can I have your name?" I said, "No" and then went silent. She burst out laughing while the student who had called me back, looked at us in bewilderment. I don't know this gal's name, yet. She turned to the student and said, "We know each other." I'm silently resigned to all these sticks so having someone to make it silly and fun is a blessing.

After giving blood, I went to my Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast. I have the clerks so trained that the only thing they ask me now is which other donut I want. I get a large hot tea and a double chocolate donut for sure, every time. Then I get some other donut. It costs $3.97 and I'm a member of the DD Perks club. I recharge my card every month and then sprinkle out the use over the course of the month. Dunkin' isn't the best breakfast, but I find that I feel better when I go there because they know me now and that starts the day off right.

This time, the clerk noticed my bandage and asked if I'd given blood. "I had to do the fasting blood test today so I haven't eaten since 10 p.m. last night. GIVE ME ALL THE DONUTS AND NO ONE GETS HURT!!" He just laughed. Armed with a hot tea and two donuts, I headed off to the office.

Now I wait. The tests came back positive for all values. Nothing was askew. I have been approved, as I said. I'm not sure if I will get a call from CVS that my meds are ready or if I get it in the mail. Dr. Francis wasn't clear on that. Once I start this, we'll see how I do. My hands have not hurt since last week, but, thanks to all the walking last week, it's my hip joints that hurt this week.

I'm not looking for a miracle here, although Dr. Francis said RA can go into remission. There was a recent study which claims to have found the trigger that switches on these kinds of diseases. They were looking for triggers for Multiple Sclerosis but finding the switch brings hope for breakthroughs in the treatment of all auto-immune diseases.

For the moment, I'll be content to head to the lab on a Monday morning and then hit up Dunkin' on the way to the office. It's not really that bad to have a hot tea and two donuts waiting for me.

Beverage:  Irish Breakfast Tea


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