What it’s Like to Get Remicade (at Least, for Me.)

Hallelujah! Yesterday I had my Remicade treatment, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I’m sure the instant results are largely due to the 40 mg of Prednisone they give me when I arrive, but I don’t care – I feel nearly whole again.

I remember the first time I had to get Remicade I was terrified, and afterward realized there was truly no reason to be scared, so I thought it’d be worthwhile to tell what really happens during a treatment. Maybe it could make someone else less scared. For me, it’s been a great course of treatment that has helped me live my life, and even have my daughter, so I’m grateful to it.

Remicade is a biologic infusion. Rather than a medication that I get at a pharmacy, I have to actually go into the hospital and have it delivered via IV. The entire thing takes about 4 hours door to door, but the infusion itself takes about 2 hours. The first few times, though, take longer because they go much slower on purpose, just to make sure there isn’t a reaction or something. I, like most people, go every 8 weeks. In between, I don’t take any other medication.

When I arrive at the hospital, I go to Outpatient check-in. They make sure my perscription has been called in and that my insurance is going to cover it, and then give me a patient bracelet and files to take upstairs. Once upstairs, they set me up in a room (although it’s been 3 years, so by now they just tell me the room number and I set myself up…all the nurses know me by name.) I get comfy in a chair or on the bed, usually plug in my laptop to work, and wait to get hooked up.

First I’m given the 40 mg Prednisone, and for the first year I was also given Claritin to ward off possible allergic reactions, but that’s no longer necessary since I’m doing fine. While that kicks in, the nurse goes to the pharmacy for my IV bag of Remicade. Somewhere around then, the nurse also starts my IV. Here’s a photo of what I look like hooked up. The IV insertion hurts a bit, but no more than when they take blood. The more experienced nurses know how to do it quickly and relatively painlessly.

I think that it all looks worse than it is…but if you want to feel sorry for me, feel free to send chocolates or money.

So, usually around this time, breakfast is delivered. Living in Philadelphia means that sometimes you get scrapple. Talk about terrifying. Luckily, yesterday was just eggs and sausage. I took a photo of that too…enjoy!

 

About an hour after the Prednisone, the Remicade arrives and is hooked into the IV.

The drip is totally painless, and I don’t feel it at all. When it’s done 2 hours later, I press the button for the nurse who removes the IV, I usually wait a few minutes in the chair or bed to make sure I feel okay, and then I head back to my life.

Usually that evening I feel energetic and happy (because of the Prednisone), and have a restless sleep (Prednisone.)

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