Today I spent seven and a half hours at the cancer infusion center. That’s how long the entire Ocrevus infusion took, including an hour for pre-meds and an hour afterward for observation. If I were to apply Lean Manufacturing Principles (an engineering thing) to this process, I think we could have done it in about 90 minutes.
Ocrevus is the new, and only MS drug approved for primary progressive multiple sclerosis. It seems to work best on people earlier in the disease and younger than me, but I’m giving it a try nonetheless. I thought I would share with you the basic setup I had for the day.
A: The reason was there — about $30,000 worth of Ocrevus, one of two infusions per year that I receive.
B: IV pump which delivered the Ocrevus.
C: Perfectly sized pillow from home
D: The spot on the back of my hand where the Ocrevus entered my veins. The first nurse, when she tried to find a vein, gave up without even poking me once. The charge nurse failed on her first try but succeeded on her second. Better than average.
E: Hospital issue pillow for me to rest my left arm on.
H: Plastic urinal for me to pee into. Same as I use at home.
I: Tablet. Not sure why I brought it since there’s no Internet there.
J: Water which I didn’t touch because I had so many fluids going into me anyway.
K: Equally useless mouse for the tablet.
L: Clunky TV remote for tiny hospital TV.
M: Smart phone which waffled between zero and one bar of reception — my only link to the outside world for seven and a half hours.
N: I can’t forget my trustee Permobil wheelchair, which kept me comfortably reclined for the duration.
Missing from the photo are the people who took such great care of me: a team of nurses and technicians and of course my lovely wife.
Overall, it’s not a horrible experience. The cancer patients got in and out more quickly than I did, but I won’t go home with terrible side effects like they do. I won’t be able to tell if this treatment is helping for about another six months or so. You people will be the first to know. That’s a lie. I will let you know… let's say… promptly. Definitely promptly.