Category Archives: Arthritis

The Sharps Bin

Being the lucky girl I am taking injectable meds for my arthritis, I naturally have a sharps bin at home. You know the sort of thing, BRIGHT YELLOW with a tasteful blue lid. It lives on a shelf beside some science magazines in my hall, as I’m kinda limited on space. Basically, what I’m saying is it sticks out like a sore thumb.

At work, it makes sense for the sharps bins to be blindingly obvious (even though I have trouble seeing them when I go looking for them “it’s over there under the sink” “where? I can’t see it” “There *shakes bucket*”). In the lab they’re a bucket full of mysterious hazard (well, a mix of microscope slides and syringe needles), we work with dangerous things and need a place to put them when we’re done, and we need to be absolutely certain no one accidentally thinks they’re normal waste for the cleaners to take. In fact, we have not only tasteful blue lids but purple (for things like gels contaminated with ethidium bromide), giant all yellow bins (for when a 5L blue lid bin isn’t enough) and I’ve also seen posters with black lidded sharps bins (I have yet to see one in the flesh).

At home, it’d be nice if it wasn’t so bright yellow. The first day my mother spotted it, she started crying, coz she didnt realise when I said I was moving to injectable meds, that I meant I was moving to things that would be injected. After explaining to her that it’s fine, they really work, and they have to be injected coz pharma hasn’t yet mastered the dark art of keeping proteins from being digested (seriously, it’s what your digestive system is made for), she was much happier. So it’d be nice if it didnt upset my houseguests (or alert others to my condition, sometimes you don’t want to share all the details of your life and illness).

Of course, the downside of a bright yellow bin is outweighed by having a magic bin you can put broken glass and old sewing needles in without having to wrap them in paper 🙂

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Being off the drugs (temporarilly)

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know I recently caught a virus that was doing the rounds and ended up with a chest infection. The virus part was like a mild flu/heavy cold, and lasted about ten days, the chest infection however took a bit over a month to clear.

Unfortunately, as my arthritis medication is an immun0suppressant, I was obliged to halt treatment while the cough cleared up. As much as my immune system torments my joints, I need it in action to deal with infections. This break in the medication allowed my arthritis to flare, so I had that to contend with as long as a pretty harsh cough.

After three weeks off the meds, I gave in, I just had to take them. I was still coughing but I was beginning to struggle with flares in my foot and hand. Even now (two more weeks later), I still have a mild cough. The flares are beginning to subside, and my work has been set back by a few weeks. I’m trying to minimise any pipetting and standing I have to do, but I still need to complete some experiments and struggle through.

So now I realise how dependant I am on my medication. When I started treatment, I had hoped that when we had the initial flares under control, I could be weaned off them and just have to keep an eye out for proto-flares in the future. Sadly, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a likely outcome for me..

On a positive note though, it seems my immune system can still tackle viruses when it’s not inflaming my joints 🙂