14. Two weeks later.

There are now two weeks worth of needles in my yellow bucket. And a corresponding number of holes in my skin.

Despite my initial reservations, actually injecting myself hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I have got into the routine of removing the syringe from the fridge, allowing it to warm to room temperature, loading it into the bingo dabber and pressing the trigger over the appropriate piece of skin before discarding the syringe safely in the yellow bucket.

As part of my jab-kit I also got a diary which I complete daily in order to keep a track of where and when I have injected.

For the first four days I added comments about how the injection had gone. For the first four days I wrote the same two comments:

1. Painful.

2. Cried.

By day five I had stopped writing these comments. Not because it had stopped hurting or that I had stopped crying, but because it was getting rather repetitive and my pen-ink could be better used elsewhere.

By day seven I looked like shit. I know I looked like shit as people told me I looked ‘tired’ which is a polite way of saying that you look like shit. My eyes were puffy; partly through tiredness and partly through the ocean of tears that I had cried. Every night I dreaded the time that I had to get the syringe out of the fridge and dreaded the time that I had to inject because I knew that it would hurt like hell. And that I would have to sit on the sofa with a cold-gel-pack on the spot, waiting for the pain to pass before I could go to bed. And that once in bed I would have to avoid lying on the spot because of the soreness.

The pain isn’t even the needle. It only starts to hurt 30 seconds after I have removed the needle. Its like a burning, throbbing pain which seems to spread around the area. And I don’t think I am even being ‘mardy’ about it. I had a tattoo without anything more than discomfort and I barely flinch during my monthly brazillian …

By days 8 and 9 I decided that I needed to pull myself together… and so I coloured my hair and gave myself a manicure, pedicure and a facial.

I then decided that I needed to change the way in which I was doing the injections if I was to ever have an evening which didn’t revolve around the anticipation of doing it, doing it, dealing with the after-effects of doing it and feeling sorry for myself for having to do it.

I decided to change the time of my injection to the morning.

By far the best aspect of this change was that in order to avoid having an injection in the evening and then the following morning, I had to skip my last evening injection. This was like having an unexpected day off, like when you got sent home from school because the boiler had broken, and was the cause of much giddiness and celebration.

And so now I take the syringe out of the fridge when I get up in the morning and inject just before I leave to go to work. It still hurts like hell but the need to get out of the flat and get to work seems to take over from the pain, although I do stick my cooling-gel-packs down my skirt to help take the sting out of things.

Hopefully I now look less like shit.

Injecting everyday brings a whole new set of things to consider and think about. Thighs are definitely the least painful and so I look forward to ‘thigh days’ where as the sensitive tummy area is the worst and is accompanied by much dread.

I try not to look ahead and work out what day it will be next, instead preferring to play ‘dabber-roulette’ – will it be a thigh, tummy or hip day?! Who knows!

Upper arms are a different story. For a start not only am I right handed but I am pretty hopeless with my left and so haven’t had the confidence to even attempt to inject into my right arm with my left hand for fear of missing and hitting one of the cats instead.

Even injecting my left arm with my right hand hasn’t been very successful on either of the occasions I have tried, ending up with bruises I think due to hitting the muscle.

The instructional literature provided with the jab kit suggests that one could save injecting those harder to reach areas for when one has company …

so watch out when visiting me … for I may produce the bingo dabber and it won’t involve two fat ladies of two little ducks!

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13. Shooting Up.

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 😉

12. The night before tomorrow…

Ok, so the time has finally come. No more lying low, hiding the box in the fridge behind the eggs, pretending it isn’t happening. For tomorrow I am having my first injection.

Fortunately I won’t be alone. I will be in the capable hands of my MS nurse who is going to give me a tutorial on all that is involved.  I expect that I will have to do the actual injecting bit myself though to show that I can do it. Wonder if they’ll have me practise on something first? Like a student doctor perhaps …. I’ve seen those programmes where they practise putting cannulas into patients …. well maybe its payback time?

My appointment is tomorrow afternoon at the hospital. I have been instructed to bring my bingo dabber and one of the Copaxone-filled-syringes. But interestingly not the funky two-tone rucksack.

I can’t say I am looking forward to it, but at the same time I just want to get it over and done with. I seem to have been waiting forever, waiting for the kit to arrive, waiting for this appointment. And with waiting comes anxiety and dread. Unless of course you are waiting for something good to happen with which comes excitement and anticipation. Well excitement and anticipation certainly aren’t words I would use to describe tomorrows activities.

I am, however, strangely relieved that by this time tomorrow all my questions will have been answered and I will know exactly what it is like. And hopefully it will not be as bad as I think.

Watch this space …

11. Special Delivery …

When this arrived I was pretty excited. I thought perhaps Christian Louboutin had stumbled upon my blog and having been touched by my plight had sought to compensate me with a preview of his summer collection. Or that maybe Mulberry were so saddened by the scratches sustained by my Bayswater bag during the Spinningfields-stumbling-debacle that they had couriered over a Cookie Lily bag in Pebbled Beige Soft Matt Leather …..

Perhaps the fact that I had to collect the parcel from Lloyds Pharmacy ought to have alerted me to the fact that it was neither of the above.

Instead the box contained the following:

 

(i) A yellow sharps bin. A rather stark reminder of what I must do everyday from now on. Sadly I wasn’t given the option of alternative colour-ways. For if I had I would probably have opted for pink. Or Cath Kidston style floral. Instead I plan on fashioning some sort of discrete yet stylish cover upon which I shall update in due course …

 

 

(ii) A ‘pen’ into which the syringes are inserted before injecting. Although I would have said it pays more resemblance to a ‘bingo dabber’ …

 

 

(iii) A rucksack in two-tone shades of blue. Sadly not Mulberry …

(iv) The needles. 28 ready filled syringes in individually sealed plastic blister packs packed neatly into a box. Which must be kept refrigerated. And so are currently in my fridge between the Flora and last nights left-overs.

 

So apparently I now have everything I need … a yellow bucket, a bingo dabber, a nifty blue rucksack and more needles than any self-respecting junkie …. however before I can get ‘clicking’ I am missing just one thing ….

…. someone to tell me what to do with it all???