Turn RA Infusions into “Me Time!”

Make time fly during your RA infusion with these creative ideas from folks just like you.  

Andrea Barbalich
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We asked people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) how they pass the time during an infusion. Their creative solutions may inspire you, too!

If you like to be productive…
Make a dent in your wish list. “I keep a stockpile of things I wish I had time to read, and then I bring them with me to the infusion,” says Florida resident Kelly Young. “Whether it’s on paper or electronic, this is your ‘found’ time when you can look at things you didn’t have time to look at.”

Catch up. “I read and respond to email, check my texts and catch up on things I need to do, like calling people and making appointments,” says Debbie McGrady of Greenwood, IN.

Take care of business. “I use the time to work on two books that I’m writing,” says April Wells of Austin, TX. “If I’m feeling nimble enough, I type on a keyboard attached to my iPod or iPad. If not, I use a stylus. And if it’s reasonably quiet without a lot of hustle and bustle in my doctor’s office, I’ll use a digital recorder or phone and take voice notes and type them up later.”

Get a leg up on the holidays. “I work on my Christmas list,” says Kelly. “And I use my smartphone to look for things and shop.”

If you’re feeling social…
Compare notes. “I like to talk to other patients about how long they’ve had RA, what kind of drug they’re on and what the results have been,” says Debbie. “It’s a great opportunity to hear other people’s stories and what’s working for them and what isn’t.”

Have a movie “party.” “I bring movies on my iPad and watch them with the other patients,” says Tess DeMarco of Bradenton, FL. “Last time it was Miss Congeniality. The nurses were coming in and out to try to catch a glimpse, too.”

Pay it forward. “I have the same infusionist every time, and we swap stories,” says April. “She has hip pain, so I give her advice on what to do to ease the pain. She says I’m helping her. And that’s what it’s all about: If I can help one person who then helps another one, I think I’ve made a difference.”

Make it a girls’ date. “For my first treatment, I brought my best friend with me,” says Kelly. “I’d never had an infusion before and was a little bit nervous. It was great to have her there. And afterward, we went out to lunch—something we don’t usually get to do. I told her it’s not a treatment—it’s an infusion party.”

Tweet about it! “If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet about your experience during the treatment,” says Kelly. “There’s a huge group of people with RA on Twitter. If you do this, you’ll get a lot of support.”

If you’re not feeling social…
Watch and learn.  “Even if I don’t feel like talking, I like to watch and listen to other patients talking,” says Kelly. “I just sit quietly and learn more about other people’s experiences. It helps me feel that I’m not alone and this isn’t just me going through this.”

Get inspired by music. “I bring my headset and my MP3 player and escape into my music,” says April. “Depending on my mood, I might choose white noise—usually ocean sounds or wind chimes I’ve gotten from YouTube. Or I listen to Disney tunes.

My favorite is Dory [the character in the Disney movie Finding Nemo] singing ‘Just Keep Swimming.’ Some days I will just keep listening to that song over and over again in a loop. Dory is my hero, and I believe that no matter what, you do just have to keep swimming!”  

October 2013