Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cautionary Advice

Just got back from my family doctor. Had to renew one of my regular prescriptions.

While I was there, she ran through all of the new medications I'm on. She talked to me about Enbrel and how it was making me immune-compromised. She added that, while she didn't think I should live in a bubble, I shouldn't visit old-age homes and that if I went to a hospital, it should be because I needed to be there not because I was visiting someone.

My parents are older, so let's just hope they don't get ill…


  1. It does put you at an increased risk but as long as you're careful, you'll be fine. And I say this as someone who, until last year, worked in hospital sales (floor to floor, day in and day out.) Keep the communication open with your doctor, lots of hand sanitizer, flu shots, and monitor who you come into contact with if you start to feel crummy. It's scary when they tell you that but again, as long as you're careful...

  2. Hey!

    Yup, I've had all my shots – flu, pneumonia, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus (so many I'd have to check to see what all) – and the hand sanitizer is at the ready. Otherwise, I am pretty much just being careful.

    Thanks for checking in! :)

  3. Sound advice that I guess she'd have to make. I'll say this, though. My mother spent over six months on and off in hospitals and nursinghomes after a bad fall and I visited several times a week. Was on Humira, but never got sick.

    It probably helps that I use a wheelchair and my hands/arms are quite impaired - I use a stick to push elevator buttons, door openers (or other people) to open doors, etc, so touching areas in public spaces that are touched by others is minimal to non-existent.

  4. Her advice is good and cautionary, but as someone who has been on a biologic for two years and was living in NYC and using mass transit, I didn't notice any increase in cols/infections. We are all different- take the necessary precautions, but you may be just fine, hospital visits or not!

  5. She's really a very good doctor, and I wouldn't say too overly cautious in general (although she is big on everyone getting the flu shot).

    I'm just being good about handwashing, but certainly not stopping going out and about (said with Canadian accent, of course!).

    So far, I'm absolutely fine, and I'm around people all the time...and I have to say, I never was someone who got colds or anything anyway...so maybe my luck will stand me in good stead, compromised immune system or not!

  6. Hi Laurie,

    Yes, that's good sound advice, but I'll just echo the others and suggest that we all end up finding our own appropriate level of caution. I've been on Enbrel for seven years now and have never found myself more prone to infection. I've been in and out of hospitals, both for my own procedures and to see others.

    That said, I do know some people who have found that they develop infections more often than they used to, so I'd say it's smart obe extra careful at first until you know how you're going to react.

    I'm glad you're feeling fine so far.


  7. That's exactly how I'm playing it, Helen: cautious till I see what's up, then I'll go from there. As Leotard would say, You smart!

    Glad to hear you've had a good time with Enbrel; hope I do, too. Did my third round of injections tonight, this time all on my own (well, except for the obligatory Toblerone bar!).

    :) L