Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Antibiotic Desensitization

I wanted to describe the process of desensitization because before my last admission I was pretty clueless about. It was actually much easier than I anticipated, it but was something I was very nervous about prior to actually going through the process.

This seems to vary by hospital, but my hospital requires a stay in ICU to be desensitized. This means you have heart monitors (5), an oxygen monitor, a constant temp monitor, a blood pressure cuff that takes your blood pressure every 15 minutes, and of course your IV so needless to say you can't move much. The downfall to this is when nature calls you are at the mercy of your nurse. I had to buzz the nurse every time I needed to pee. Once the nurse arrived she/he would have to unhook all my monitors and then pull the potty out from the counter it folder into. I don't know if you can even picture that because until I saw it I would have been like, what? But basically they have a cabinet and when you open it there is a toilet that you can pull out, use, flush and fold back into the cabinet. Although my nurse was the one that had to flush and fold back under the cabinet. Then I would be hooked up to my monitors again until the next time I had to pee. It was not my favorite way of using the bathroom and I tried to avoid going as much as possible. Healthy, I know.

When I got to the hospital I didn't actually start the process or any meds until the next day which made it feel like a super expensive hotel without the perks of a comfortable bed or any privacy. The next morning they started setting up my room for the desensitization. I was totally calm about the whole process until this point. They started to fill my room with "just in case" supplies. It actually made me nervous as more and more supplies started to fill my room in case, oh I don't know, I went into anaphylactic shock and tried to die on them. My heart rate shot up and the alarms on my heart monitor kept going off, which was slightly embarrassing.

A very diluted version of the medicine was given over 15 minutes and then a slightly stronger dose of the drug was given for 15 minutes. This continued for varying times over the course of four hours. The allergist had to stay with me for the entire four hours plus a few more to ensure I didn't react to the drug. The lack of privacy was probably the worst part of the whole process, I doubt he liked that part very much either. Once they knew I was okay I continued the drug like normal.

The next day another allergist came to see how I was doing and explained that the process is hugely successful. I wished she was my allergist the day before because after I talked to her I realized the chances of a severe reaction was pretty slim and I would have been much more relaxed while going through the desensitization.

Unfortunately, desensitization is only good until you stop the drug for 24-48 hours meaning if I ever need this drug (or one of the other four I am allergic to) I will need another trip to ICU. However, besides the toilet issue and the unwanted allergist roommate it is really an easy process.

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