Friday, March 4, 2011

New Meds, New Hope

The agenda today was sitting in a comfortable recliner in the 4th floor outpatient room of St. Luke's downtown. Nurse Sharon was so nice, but tried 3 times to get the IV needle in my arm. The 4th one, she passed off to nurse Sharon, who found a good vein (or artery - I don't know which they needed to pump stuff in to my arm). It wasn't quite 7 hours long; closer to 6 hours total.

This new medication, Rituxan, is supposed to work differently than other meds I've tried, and hopefully more effectively. I'm not ready to hope that I'll be able to play golf again, but that would really be nice.

One of the questions nurses always ask, as part of the intake procedure, confuses me every time they ask:
"Are you in pain today?"
Well, I have RA. I'm in pain everyday.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, what level would you say your pain is today."

I never know how to answer that. Since I live with pain all the time, zero - meaning no pain - isn't even a possibility. There's a new zero. Yes I have pain, but it's at the level I've gotten used to, so that I hardly notice it. Nurse Sharon said, "I think for a lot of RA patients, the new zero is like the old 3 - not enough pain to treat, but enough to notice. The new 2, the old 5, is enough pain that you need something for it."

That feels like as good an explanation as I've heard.
I told her I was a new 1, old 4. That seemed perfectly vague to me.
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