Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting into a Routine

We've been to Duke now 4 times. The last visit was just yesterday on Tuesday, June 30th. It was a routine visit. We check in at the front desk and then head to the lab (pictured to the left). There Abigail's blood pressure and temperature are checked and height and weight are logged. We head to a larger room where we spend the next hour and a half. It's a community room and can be filled with lots of kids participating in the same study, their parents, a nurse and our doctor. We haven't met our new doctor yet. Our doctor for our first three visits was Dr. Bird. He was fabulous but his Fellowship ended and he left for a permanent position in another state. Abigail is quite nervous about our new doctor, but we've been reassured that he is equally nice.

She is greeted, we turn in our daily log, confirm our case number, report anything unusual and then she is examined for any unusual marks, bumps or anything that might be taken as a reaction. She is then given her new dosage. This last time, she was given 2 drops of 1/100 dilution which she holds under her tongue for 2 minutes. I'm often asked what the equivalent is in peanuts. I don't know and need to make sure to ask next visit. For the next hour and a half, she is periodically monitored. After 30 minutes she can eat which appears to be the highlight of each of the kids' visits. They get to choose off of a menu: cereal, bagels, grits for breakfast, sandwiches, chips, pretzels or cookies for lunch and there's fruit, juice and ice cream for an extra treat.

Then we wait. Moms chat, compare notes and ask lots of questions to the doctor and nurses. Kids are entertained playing with each other or watching movies. This summer we take cards and puzzles. This fall, we'll be doing homework.

One more check and then we're heading home. I expect most visits to follow this routine. On our third visit Abigail had to spit in a cup for a saliva collection. Gross for the girls...nothing but fun for the little boys. There are a few visits that require skin prick test and blood draws. She'll get a private room and extra attention at those.

We didn't see a reaction this visit. On her second visit and for several days after, her ears itched a great deal. They haven't since. I had hoped that it was a confirmation that we weren't on the placebo. Abigail's the 37th participant in this study and so far no one has seen a hive or other visible sign of a reaction until the 4th or 5th dosage increase. I was really hoping to see something at this visit. Maybe next time at the 5th visit. Of course, we've been reassured that if we don't see a small reaction, that it doesn't mean we're not getting the real stuff.