Ok, so I’ve seen Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and have read the book – infact at A-level I produced an analysis of the misogynistic themes featured in that and Ian Banks’ Wasp Factory (I was going through a wanna-be-trendy-yet -intellectual-feminist phase at the time …)
and up until now Trainspotting had been my sole point of reference when it comes to administering injections. I hadn’t even paid attention when having holiday jabs in my arm, preferring to look in the opposite direction and intently scrutinise a mark on the paintwork.
It was for this reason that I was a little surprised that there wasn’t a teaspoon within my ‘kit’. Or any silver foil. Or even a tourniquet.
So last Friday I toddled along to Hope Hospital, nervously clutching my bingo dabber and single syringe containing Copaxone, for my lesson in self-injecting.
Luckily I arrived in good time for once as my appointment was in a new place, a new ward, and in usual hospital-visting-style I got lost. Eventually I found the correct ward, despite having asked a member of hospital staff who rather worryingly didn’t have any idea where it was either.
I think the ward was one in which patients attend to have drugs administered intravenously and there were a number of dentist style chairs in which people sat, reading magazines, wearing headphones and hooked up to drips.
We found a vacant chair in the corner and Wendy, my nurse, closed the curtain around us.
She told me to take the syringe out of the fridge half an hour before using it. She showed me how to fit it into my bingo dabber step by step and finally how to do the actual injecting using an empty syringe and a block of rubber (there mustn’t have been any student doctors available). After she had shown me a couple of times I had a go, again using the rubber block. I think I had three practise shots before the time came for me to do it for real.
Following careful consideration and analysis I had decided that out of the possible location sites – thighs, tummy, back of hips and upper arms – that somehow thighs would be the least painful. I settled on my left thigh for my first go, and dropped my jeans. I loaded the dabber, carefully following each step that I had been shown. Until it was ready. And then I began to hesitate. And procrastinate.
‘Will it hurt?’ I asked.
‘Well ….. yes’ came the reply.
‘As much as having a tattoo?’ I asked.
‘No’ came the reply, as I then engaged Wendy in a five minute conversation about our tattoo experiences, hoping that she would forget why we were there, despite the fact that my jeans were round my knees and I was sheepishly holding the bingo dabber.
Wendy had obviously come up against such ploys before and wasn’t to be fooled. And so I put the dabber on my leg and pulled the trigger.
I felt a ping into the skin and slowly counted to ten as previously instructed before pulling the dabber away from the skin and the needle out of my flesh.
‘Phew! It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!’ I said as I dismantled the dabber and dropped the now empty syringe into the yellow bucket.
At that moment my leg began to sting. And then hurt. Really bad. Hurt and throb. And the pain spread all over my thigh like a wave.
And then it happened again, just like the time I had first been shown the injection kit. I went all hot and claustrophobic and could see stars. Wendy disappeared through the curtain to fetch me a glass of water leaving me sat there in a rather un-lady-like manner with my jeans still around me knees.
I sipped the cold water as she stood with her hand on my shoulder. I felt like I nodded off to another place for a few seconds before the wave lifted and I started to feel better.
‘I thought you were going to feint then’ she said.
I was very relieved that she hadn’t had to pull back the curtain and call for reinforcements. After all not only were my jeans around my knees but I was wearing a thong and the thought of all the patients in their dentists chairs getting a full view of my pasty white ass was just too bad to even contemplate.
I have since received a copy of the letter that Wendy sent to my GP outlining the nature of our appointment. In it she refers to the ‘feinting-thing’ as a ‘vassal vegal episode’. I may have been wearing a thong at the time but hadn’t realised that vajazzles could make you feint ;)