I have had CD for 15 years, and 6 surgeries. Like you I struggle with anemia. I have been having iron infusions for years.
You have nothing to worry about, its not a big deal at all. I used to have to have them 3 times a week, which was very tiring as I was working at that time, and would have to go during my lunch hour.
Now, unfortunately, I am unable to work, but I don't have to have the infusions as frequently. Now, I typically need to have one every other week. The infusions last approximately 1 hour. Some advice that I have:
- Make sure that you hydrate yourself pretty good prior to the infusion so that they will be able to start the IV with more ease. This is always an issue with me as I have tiny veins that tend to blow, or the nurse will think that the vein is bigger than it is, and when she attempts to start the IV, the needle won't "thread", or the vein will "roll" and I end up being poked a few times. But I have been told, and I know that it does help, that if I drink a lot of water prior to the infusion, it is easier to start an IV.
- Try to eat something before or during the infusion. I have found that if I have the infusion on an empty stomach, I will get a bad headache. Also, I have been told that I can take a Tylenol prior to the infusion to prevent the headaches as well, as that is one of the known side effects.
Also, you mentioned that your hemoglobin count was at 7.3. My doctor always orders a blood transfusion (of at least 2 units of "Packed Red Blood Cells (Packed RBC)") whenever my hemoglobin drops below 8.0. Has your doctor mentioned a blood transfusion at all?
In addision, I used to take a prescription iron supplement called "Repliva"; however, the manufacturer has stopped producing this product; however, there is another product called "Pruvate", which is essentially the same as Repliva. Have you tried either of these? I have found that the OTC iron supplements are too rough on my system, but I am able to tolerate these prescription iron supplements with no problem.
Good luck with your iron infusions! Don't worry, they are a piece of cake!
Let me know if you have any additional questions.