Medical Note:
10 July 2018

The umpteenth Remicade infusion yesterday went well, as these infusions almost invariably do. I read a few chapters of Steven Brill’s Tailspin

But I had to see the rheumatologist first, just like the old days. In the old days, his inspections were pro-forma. Those have long since been supplanted by quarterly visits. I had to see him yesterday so that he could see me, or, more particularly, the cuts on my shin. He peeled back the bandages and pronounced them “nothing.” I was good to go.

I could have gotten away without telling him about the cuts, but that would have meant not telling him about the antibiotics that the dermatologist prescribed when I called her office to describe them. Four years ago, a deeper but otherwise similar gouge in exactly the same spot on my other shin abscessed, sending me to the Emergency Room for a few days of intravenous antibiotics.  Cellulitis had bloated the limb, which was hot to the touch. I didn’t’ want to repeat that experience. Nor, with regard to the infusion, did I want to discover that Remicade was contraindicated by the facts — after it was too late. 

I walk into things all the time, because there is never enough room. Four years ago, it was the sharp corner of a wooden bed on Fire Island. This time, it was the stout plastic packaging on a case of box wine that I was too lazy to unpack. It took up half the floor space in the already narrow passage that leads from the kitchen to the dining ell. I cut myself at least three times. Kathleen, cleaning and bandaging the wounds, called them “craters.” 

When the rheumatologist heard about this (because I ‘fessed up when the Infusion Therapy Unit nurse called to confirm the infusion), he asked me to send him a photograph. Kathleen took a few shots, and they all made me look ready to succumb to a virulent tropical disease. Word got back, no surprise, that the doctor wanted to see for himself. Instead of ordering the infusion to be rescheduled, though, he fit me in very nicely, so that I saw him on my way to the Unit. It was very convenient for me, I must say. Virtue was not its own reward. 

Four years ago, the next Remicade infusion had to be put off not for a few days but for weeks.  

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