Monday, August 27, 2007

Chemo 4/8

Let me introduce you to my big bag 'o drugs. I have three different anti-nausea medications, one steroid, and one white blood cell booster. The booster, Neulasta, has to be self-injected, and comes encased in a clear plastic guard which locks after injection. This is to prevent accidental pricks to those handling the medical waste, for example. I successfully self-injected after the first two chemo sessions, then made my fatal mistake: I read the instructions.

I've always had an aversion to instructions, one so extreme that it took me over a year to discover all the features of my IPod on my own. I should have followed habit with the Neulasta and continued my intuitive (and correct) injection procedure, but instead I thought I should at least look at the insert that came with the drug. The instructions showed how the sliding guard could be snapped up in place after injection, blocking all access to the used needle. Easy, I thought, absently-mindedly moving it up and down...CLICK. I had locked the guard before using the injection. It's very sturdy-looking, and quite close to the drug receptical...not something a band saw or bolt cutters could probably manage. In addition, the drug is delicate. I was told repeatedly that shaking it would damage the mixture.

I called K, a pharmacist at the specialty drugstore for chemo patients. K is this fast-talking, hyperefficient gay man who I imagine snapping his fingers as he solves all of my problems. Girl! You locked your Neulasta syringe? prob! Here's the direct number to a rep at Amgen, just tell him K sent yah! [Snaps!]

So, I actually called the drug company that makes Neulasta and asked them to give me a "one time accomodation" for being a knucklehead, at which point they would give a credit to my drugstore for a new syringe. This is no small matter, since if I didn't get the credit, I would have to pay $150 out-of-pocket for a syringe. After answering a series of " can you be so dumb?" questions from the Amgen rep, I called back K. "I can't be the only person who has ever done this." K reassured me, "no, it happens all the time." Tomorrow I wait for a courier to bring me a new, unlocked syringe.

Chemo was uneventful today. Ativan still rocks. After I went home, I fell asleep and dreamed that I was renting a white clapboard house somewhere on the beach, maybe in Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod. I was running around in a white bikini getting ready for an old-fashioned clam bake. You're all invited; just close your eyes.

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