I went for my first Rituximab Infusion yesterday with great trepidation as I have a big fear of needles. The staff there are used to people like me and were very kind.
On arrival I was welcomed to the ward where there were patients sitting in chairs and given a chair of my own with a trolley at the side.
My veins are very spidery and the blood ladies have awful trouble getting anything from me. Anyway, the nurse tried twice to insert the canular but had no luck. She told me two nurses try twice to insert one and if they have no luck they will get someone with more practice to do it. After she'd tried twice she took me to put my hand in some warm water before asking the 2nd nurse to have a go. The 2nd nurse did it more or less straight away. It was painful but for a very short time. Once it's in there's no pain at all.
The best advice for anyone going for the first time I can say is to try to keep your hand warm, which wasn't easy as i was cool in the ward. Also, if you can ask them if they want you to make a fist that can help. And I know this is very very difficult, but if you try to relax while they are doing it that helps as well.
The nurses told me all the way through what they were doing and answered any questions.
Every half hour they check your pulse, blood pressure and temperature.
The whole procedure took from arrival at 9.00am until 4.30pm. Apparently the 2nd infusion takes a little less time (not a lot!).
It's a very very long day and you need to take something to keep you occupied. I found I was very hungry (which is unusual for me) so would advise anyone having it done to bring a few bits to nibble.
I do feel good today but am aware that this treatment isn't supposed to take effect for about 3 months so I am just thankful any time that I feel a little better. I often find the following day I shouldn't have bragged to my long suffering husband as I go downhill again.
Once again, I'd like to reassure anyone going to have it done that if I can do it YOU CAN!