Unexpected Help

I admit that I can get feeling cranky and down about things. Lately, I’ve battled the pharmacy benefits manager and been let down by my doctor. It got me thinking “people are bad and evil!” because I was so disappointed and frustrated. Why is it so hard to do the right thing?

A reminder: people can be good and helpful in the most unexpected places

Just when I needed it, I got a kick in the pants—a reminder that people can be good and helpful. Even more: that help when you need it can come from unexpected places.

It happened that I finally am starting a new treatment and the injectable medication was set to arrive. Since I have not been on a working treatment for about seven months, I am desperate to start. But when I called the doctor’s office to make a nurse’s appointment for training on injecting the new drug, no appointments were available for a whole week. This was doubly frustrating because I had called the previous week to schedule the appointment and was told I had to wait to get my medication and that getting an appointment at that time would be no problem.

I was devastated. I’d have to wait another week just to have five minutes with a nurse who could show my husband and me how to inject the drug. It seemed so unnecessary to have to wait so long for literally a couple of minutes when I’m already in agony. Additionally, we are not novices to injections—we just need to be briefed because this one is new to us.

Not knowing what to do, I put out a desperate plea on Facebook. I asked if any friends knew a nurse who could do the first injection with us. People shared my plea with others. They posted videos they found about the type of injection. And then a friend from high school (a trained pharmacist) said she could help over video chat. It was a miracle!

We texted back and forth about the details, and I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. Plus, I was smiling to have heard from this friend because it had been a while! It was both a relief and an emotional bonus.

The medication had arrived while I was at work. When I arrived home we opened the box to take a look at the syringe. From our research, my husband and I had expected a pre-measured syringe with the medication. All the previous medications had also been pre-measured but with auto-inject mechanisms. We knew we could handle a syringe, but that training would be needed to learn how.

Yet the box revealed a surprise! Change in plan: the new medication was also an auto-inject. Simple instructions were printed on the box (actually, it looked simpler than previous medications) and we had our concerns allayed. No help needed, but very much the offer was appreciated. I let my friend know we were all set, but thanked her so much for swooping in to offer a rescue.

Injected with a boost of confidence

The next morning I had my first injection and all went easily. But more importantly, I was injected with a boost of confidence in others. I didn’t feel so alone in my struggles. I felt heard and supported from unexpected friends who wanted to help.

It can be so hard for me to open up, to ask for help, to admit my many weaknesses and fears. I’m the rugged individualist patient who “does it all herself.” But that’s no way to live and no way to problem solve. I wasn’t going to be able to get myself out of this pickle on my own. I needed to ask for help from others.

I am so glad that I did. It didn’t hurt! Ha ha! And I gained so much by making the ask—getting information, receiving support, hearing from old friends. Don’t ever fear asking for help when you need it. Help will come—likely from wonderfully unexpected places.

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