Monday, December 08, 2008

I Am So Proud of Me!

Yesterday was a red-letter day. I actually gave myself a shot! And even more amazingly, I didn't pass out or even throw up once. Which wouldn't be unheard of. Ok, I exaggerate, but not by much. For those who've known me for a long time, I have big time issues with needles. I blame it on the surgery I had when I was 4 & 1/2 - I was in the hospital for 10 days & was poked with every needle in northern VA. Along the way, I've managed to come to terms (granted, there are lots of breathing exercises involved) with having the occasional vial of blood taken for cholesterol testing, etc. I even worked up the nerve to go & donate blood a couple of years ago (long overdue, since I was the recipient of blood during the aforementioned surgery, and really, everyone should give), only to find out they didn't want my blood (mad cow - lived in Europe in the wrong years - phew! I mean, darn!) But I have never had a flu shot that I can think of. I only had my first tetanus shot since high school last year, and that was mostly b/c I didn't want to look like a complete wuss in front of my doctor. When my mom & I were planning on going to India in November 2001, I had a plan before getting whatever vaccinations were needed. I was going to explain my issue to the doctor, ask for a prescription for Valium (extra-strength, please), then take a cab there & back the day of the shots. After 9/11 happened & we had to cancel our trip, I was greatly relieved to not have had my shots yet. So me & needles? Not good friends. Last night was the first occasion for the nightly shots I will have to endure for the next week and a half to two weeks. I read & re-read the directions, then cursed myself for not re-watching the video while I had access to the internet (yes, still have the broken modem at home). I considered asking my friend if I could go over & watch it on her computer, but decided to just get on with it. I already watched the video. Twice. I can do this. Breathe. Pant pant pant. No, no, no. Slow breaths. Phew. Ok. So it's in pen form, which means you attach a new needle every time, and there are multiple dosages in one pen. So I attached a needle, twisting tightly (but not too tightly), primed the pen for the first time use, made sure there were no floaters in the medicine, made sure there were no air bubbles in the pen, swabbed my belly with alcohol, went to pick the pen up again, and . . . shoot, where did I swab again? Re-swabbed, aiming for that mole right there. Picked up the pen, pinched the flab, aimed for the mole. Pulled back, took a breath, muttered to myself "don't be a wuss." Ok, started aiming again. Wait, wait, wait. I'm not ready. Hold on. Ok. Let's do this. Ok. Ok. Ok ok ok ok ok and eeeeeeeeeeeeee! I did it!!! I am so proud of myself! I'd give myself a gold star if it were socially acceptable for a 35-year-old to walk around with gold stars on her shirt! And I have to say, I didn't even feel the needle. That could have been a combination of the adrenaline & near-panicky-almost-fainting feeling I was having, but hey, whatever. Now I only have, aw crap, ten more days???

So I did it again tonight, and didn't panic as much, though the adrenaline kicked in again. And this time I felt the needle more. But it still wasn't bad. I've been told these needles are about the same size as the diabetic needles, but that first time I was looking at it . . . man, it looked like one of those large-gauge things they used to drain me after my lymph node surgery. I know, I'm not getting any sympathy from the diabetics right now. Well, soon, I, too, will be blase about giving myself shots! Perhaps I'll even be like my diabetic friend in junior high, who gave herself a shot at her sleepover & then, to gross us all out, let it hang out of her arm & kind of let it bob & weave around for a bit. It totally worked at grossing us out. I might have passed out a little at that display back then. But not anymore! Well, not for the next week & a half, anyway.

I swear, pictures of my hair soon.


Whitney A said...

Congratulations! Better you than me wielding that needle. I'm not sure I would have had the courage.

Cris A said...

Great job Liz! I have to get a shot every week, and it is supposed to be self-administerable, but I have yet to get up the courage to give it to myself. So, if Pablo isn't home, I stop any random person walking by to give it to me.... :)

Alex said...

Do you remember when i scared you with the needle-less syringe? we were heading to Bonn and getting our shots at the Dr office. I came up behind you and "blam!" right in the arm! ohhhhh, what a horrible brat i was :-)