My drugs were delivered to the office a little after lunch this afternoon. I'd missed the call to my mobile, so received a call from one of the nice ladies on reception and quickly hurried round to pick up my stash.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but what I got was a pretty large blue box and a bright yellow sharps bin. The lady on reception - who I've known for years - was really curious and asked what it was. When I told her it was drugs and that I was going to have to start injecting myself, she asked what for. So I told her. She expressed sympathy, and then asked if I was going to be taking deliveries like this daily or weekly. Monthly, I said. Quick as a flash, she offered to make sure it all got received all right every month and that if I wasn't around to pick it up, she'd make sure it was locked up in reception rather than disappear into the mail system. I was quite touched, actually. It turns out that this lady was off work a few years ago with a brain hemorrhage, has some titanium bands inside her skull, and was extremely empathetic to my needs. She asked about who my neurologist was and how often I saw them, and then we had the following conversation:
"Of course, you know what's really good... as well as that stuff?" She nodded at my big blue box.
I raised an eyebrow quizzically, knowing where this was going but wondering if she was really going to say it in the reception of the Head Office of a big blue chip company.
There we go, she said it. Well, it's been proven to work, right? Perhaps not in the reception of the business though, right?
[yes, I have edited this bit....]
Well, I certainly never expected to be offered cannabis under those circumstances - for medicinal use or otherwise. But isn't she great? I've always made a point of saying hello to her by name as I walk through reception every morning, but I must admit that's not quite the kind of return I was expecting, anyway.
So what's in the box?
And it is a very big box.
Slightly disappointingly, once you get through all of the packaging and the ice packs (which actually aren't required for this stuff), then all it contains is four individual packs like this one.
That's four doses - one month's supply - of bioset Avonex (in powder form, in the vial on the top right), a syringe filled with a solution (bottom, to be mixed with the powder and then loaded back up into the syringe ready for injecting) and a big bloody needle (top left).
Well, perhaps not massive, but still plenty big enough.
I've now got an appointment with the MS Nurses for 9am on Tuesday morning, at which point I will be taught how to mix the drug up properly and will then give myself my very first injection. I won't be using the gadget that shoots the needle into the muscle, either... I'll be doing it all by hand.
This suddenly all feels very, very real.