Bend Over and Take It… It’s Humira Day
Gotta have a sense of Humira (Oh puns! Am I right?). Anyway, last Monday was Humira day. It was my first day to fly solo without my nurse educator from Abbvie. As a right-handed and type-A person, if I was going to fly solo with this very expensive injection it needed to get done right; especially since there are no do overs.
There’s a slight hitch, I still don’t have full strength back in my left hand. Feeling has started to return to my ring and pinky fingers, but the inflammation hitting my left hand is a daily battle. In order to inject subcutaneously a swath of skin needs to remain pinched, and you cannot release the pinch until you are finished injecting and are ready to unlatch the needle from its hold beneath your skin.
I’ve had a couple of misfires during my training, which presented all the more reason I wanted to get this first solo endeavor right. For every misfire you receive, that’s less life-saving med entering your system right? Right.
Since I started Humira 3 months ago, I have taken a selfie before each injection, while waiting for the pens to defrost. I’ve posted the selfies on my personal and managed IBD Facebook accounts, as well as Instagram. [Admittedly, I’ve neglected this blog, while working on other organizations’ blogs and projects.]
Humira pens #3 and #4, while waiting for the nurse to arrive.
Clearly, as the caption states above, that was Humira Pen #4. As you can see from both shots (puns are fun!), I was able to do my hair and makeup. Yes, I even went into Remicade infusions with my hair and makeup done (see below).
To an extent, I am vain. I admit it. My college girlfriends still make fun of me for going to bed wearing eyeliner. Guess what, my grandmother did it too! She even had permanent makeup done on her eyes, just in case an emergency occurred in the middle of the night and medics were needed. The time eventually came, and she was happy as can be that her face was on when help arrived. That woman knew how to plan ahead. But I digress… I will use my last ounce of reserved energy to look presentable to the outside world (re: anyone other than the two people whose genetics created me).
You may be wondering where I’m going with this. Well, I needed a spare hand, a pinch
hitter hander if you will. My nurse was my pinch and pen assist, which means that when I started to lose the grip on my thigh she would help my left hand maintain the grip and at times she had to throw her other hand over my pen-holding right hand to ensure the needle stayed in when I started to lose my pinch grip.
The one thing the Humira Nurse Trainers are not allowed to do is administer the shot. They can only help ensure you do the best injection possible. And if you couldn’t, they report it to Abbvie and then it is determined if a new pen is needed or not.
That being said, my original candidate for assisting fell victim to the back to school plague and I had to toss her out of the running. The people whose genetic material created me who were mentioned above — useless. The XY half, he grows faint at the sight of needles. The XX half, she doesn’t do well with needles going into me… just ask her about the fainting story in the ER. Good times with those two!
That left one other person who lives within proximity whom I trust to not panic, flinch, or react in general. And it killed one more piece off of what used to be my independence. To ask, rely upon, and/or need help from my significant other… it kills me, I hate feeling needy.
This is supposed to be that fun time where you’re always cute and fun around one another… not anxious over needle anxiety; sick feeling because you are in need of a fix of immunosuppressant (so sexy sounding, right?); sad because you placed this request upon a person who got up at the crack of dawn to get to work, worked a full day and then some, came home to eat and walk their dogs, thennnnnn got back in their vehicle to drive another 20 minutes to your house to help you with this injection.
Admittedly, before he got here, I cried in the shower out of guilt for putting this request upon him. I cried out of self pity, because this is not a side I want him to see (vanity). I cried because, I knew crying was going to make my eyes puffy and I hadn’t done my eyes before getting into the shower. I cried because my hair wasn’t done, as I spent most of the day in bed. I cried because he said no to my driving to him so I could get Benadryl drunk and pre-medicate like I’m supposed to. I cried because I hate my immune system/genetics/situation (take your pick). But I sucked it up, got dressed, and before I even had an opportunity to put my face on or get my hair into some semblance of proper curls not Florida-induced frizz… he was here.
No, he didn’t go running screaming in the opposite direction like he saw quasimodo emerging from the garage, but I wouldn’t have blamed him.
Me without makeup on a good day… a really, really good day.
This is not what he walked up to. There was no kind lighting from the sun, or radiating glow from slightly sun-kissed cheeks.
But this is life, I suppose. The good. The bad. And the sometimes ugly
reality. He didn’t run. He even spoke with my genetic contributors before walking to my room to conduct this home-bound science experiment in which he was recruited.
The Humira pen’s window was still cloudy, meaning it wasn’t totally defrosted. We waited another few minutes and then it was “go time.”
I explained the region the pen had to inject into and how the skin had to be pinched. He walked around to my side of the bed, got himself situated and I gave him a quick rundown of how it all works from pinch to punching the button to inject.
Rather than pinching slightly, he embraced the task heartily. Using both hands, he put part of my thigh into a vice-like grip that most middle- and high-school bullies looking to perfect their torture tactics would envy.
I yelped and told him it was okay to loosen up the grip. In hindsight, if he can accomplish pinching both legs at the same time I’m injecting, I may not even feel the burn.
At this point, I don’t remember if he used both hands or not. But what I do remember was him getting into the spirit of this more than me, throwing out an encouraging 1-2-3! I didn’t 3. Fail!
My brain is evil. I froze. I got it together, took a breath, pushed the pen into the center of raised skin from beneath his grip and pressed the button and counted to 10… waiting for that gurgling sound to finish up always feels like a lifetime passing by.
It was a successful injection. Yay, teamwork!
I knew he wasn’t going to stay long — because normal people actually need sleep — but he stayed far longer than I thought he would.
He’s a good egg. The world needs more hims around.