Editor’s note: This post is from a presentation Mira put together for her class at school and is her own words. It is being published with written permission. Mira is a junior ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation.
Before I tell you about my day when I have infusions, here is a little about me. I’m 13 years-old and was diagnosed with Poly JIA (Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) a year and a half ago. I am a very active teenager and my hobbies include playing saxophone, flute, soccer, gymnastics, and running. My favorite saying that I try and live by is “Impossible stands for I’m Possible.”
When I was diagnosed I realized doctors will have traditional medicines or injections to try and if they are not working well to help relieve your symptoms, an option might be infusions (biologics). Infusions are given by an IV through your hand and are relatively painless. Depending on the medicine, it can take a few hours to many hours and depending on the medicine and dose you may get them every four to eight weeks. You may still take other oral medicine or injections to help you as your doctor sees necessary.
The places you can get infusions include:
- Home – with a nurse coming to your house
- Doctor’s Office – few hours
- Hospital – most of the day
Here is a day in the life of me getting infusion at Dr. Tuttle’s office at OSMS.
- Check in at doctor’s office (2pm)
- Get seated in a reclining chair and nurse does temperature and blood pressure
- One needle poke and nurse puts medicine in bag with saline
- Get good snacks and drinks – even hot chocolate in winter!
- Get warm blankets and can watch TV, watch videos, or color (I have even done homework!)
- Every 20 minutes they open the flow up faster (you don’t feel anything different)
- As the medicine finishes, they take your temperature and blood pressure to make sure you are feeling ok (about 4:15pm)
- Go home! (less than 2.5 hours)
I love infusions because they help me and I only spend a few hours in the doctor’s office every seven to eight weeks. I feel tired for the first day, but my energy is back then. One to two weeks before my next one I can feel it wearing off. I’m so glad I get infusions at a doctor’s office because:
- Same nurse
- Not all day
- Doctor stops to see me sometimes
- It costs less for my mom
Infusions have helped me get back to the sports and hobbies I love by reducing my pain and fatigue. I am thankful for medicines like this and a great doctor who continues to make sure the medicines are allowing me to live an active teenage life!
Dr. Paul Tuttle is a Pediatric and Adult Rheumatologist at OSMS serving patients in Appleton and Green Bay.
Read more blog posts about arthritis by clicking here.
Register for “Living Your Yes with RA: A Personalized Goal-Setting Event” presented by the Arthritis Foundation and OSMS on Tuesday, July 24th by clicking here.