Posts Tagged ‘needles’


You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby….

syringeAnyone remember back in 2013 when I was told that I had to self-inject myself in the stomach twice a day??? If not, go here to remind yourself.

Now, I’m on to a new adventure with this little phobia of mine. As one of my many health adventures, I have to deal with the ever-present possibility of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a fancy way of saying that when I’m allergic to something, I usually wind up in the ER looking like some neanderthal wanna-be. My face swells up; I can’t talk (Some would call that a good development.); and I’m itchy from head to toe. I seem to do this at really random times with no appreciable pattern.

For example, I left my university office one day (air-conditioned, mind you!), got in my air-conditioned car in the middle of an asphalt parking lot, drove home, got out of my car in my own garage, walked into my air-conditioned home and then went into full anaphylaxis. How did that happen? What triggered that? Apparently, the culprit was the vacant lot across the street that hadn’t been mowed in several months. It was rife with ragweed in full bloom. Silly me–I neglected to put the garage door down before exiting my air-conditioned car for 30 seconds. And my allergic reaction to that was basically similar to a tsunami mixed with a tornado.

Thus, I began getting allergy injections twice a week back in 2004. I would like to tell you that I no longer need such injections, but that would be making the assumption that my body acts like every other homo sapien’s on the planet and by now, you surely know that that is just not true.

Now that I’m traveling more often, this twice-a-week allergy shot thing just doesn’t jive well with my current schedule. Plus, nurses are not usually fond of giving allergy injections and are busy people doing REAL nursing, so they only give allergy injections during certain hours on certain days. In my lovely state they’ve also added the requirement that a doctor has to be on-site. Why? Good question–would you please ask that the next time you visit with your local politicians???

So, I had my favorite doctor recommend a place where I could learn to give myself allergy injections. Yes, Phobic MaryAnn actually asked how to give herself allergy shots. Now, you may think that this is no big deal after the stomach shot deal, but you would be wrong. With those shots, the syringes were spring-loaded so that once they were fully injected, the spring-loading mechanism would retract the needle out of my body for me.

With allergy shots, you don’t get this little advantage. To boot, the stomach syringes also came pre-filled with the correct amount of serum. With allergy shots, I would have to fill the syringe myself and not get air in the needle, etc., etc., etc. This may not be a big deal to you drug addicts, but it’s a rather large deal for Ms. Phobia over here.

So, for the past three weeks I have been trying to learn how to give myself thigh shots. All the little steps required to do this right and remembering them in order is enough to make me run screaming into the doctor’s office hallways, except that it might scare the little children assembled there.

No one forewarned me that it might be necessary to wear short shorts after shot attempt # 1. That right thigh hurt like a mother for at least 3 days. I think I may have emptied a rather large-sized bottle of Aleve on that one. (There goes my liver.)

Attempt number 2 seemed to be much better, but I glanced down at my left thigh at the end of the day and it was pretty misshapen. Apparently, I had been scratching it through my clothing without realizing it all day. The good news? It made my thigh muscle look much more impressive. (I don’t think this is listed as a benefit from allergy injections anywhere. Perhaps they should add it???)

Today I pushed the injector (for lack of a better term) too soon and gave my skin a good portion of the shot. Awesome. My thigh skin was not impressed.

But, in some sheer delusionary moment, the nurse handed me a pile of syringes, the shot log sheet, some alcohol prep pads and my serum and out the door I went. I’m told that I push the syringe rather fast (I personally don’t think one can be too fast doing this nonsense–I just want it to be over with!). We might want to report her to the medical board for such obvious malpractice.

So, if you hear a scream coming from Texas next Monday, it’s just me giving myself my first allergy shot solo.

The next challenge? Trying to get syringes through TSA at DFW. May God have mercy on my soul.


Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower…


In the never ending theme of my life, “God has a sick sense of humor,” the hubby and I went off to the big city for an echocardiogram yesterday. Since I have been feeling better and better, I thought this would just be a part of the routine follow-up care one must endure after a heart attack. But, that would be oh, too simple for MaryAnn. Since I have had “echos” before, I knew this one was taking way too long. I could also see the screen this time and even my untrained eye didn’t like what I was seeing. And I was, once again, reading the body language of my echo technician. And it wasn’t good.

Apparently, the echo showed abnormalities. However, I was not scheduled to see the doctor on this visit–just to get the echo. So, after checking with a physician (My doctor wasn’t in the office, of course.), they sent us on our way and said there were no changes to my recuperative care.

While on the way home, we stopped for gas. While my hubby pumped the gas, my cell phone rang. It was my doctor’s nurse. My doctor had reviewed the echo and wanted several changes. First, stop taking the new drug I had just started 2 months ago. Also stop taking aspirin. These meds are usually considered vital in keeping me alive. The reason for stopping these meds? To take Warfarin instead. What?! Apparently, I have a blood clot at the base of my heart. The clot puts me at risk now for a stroke. Joy.

But that wasn’t the worst part. I also needed to start another drug right away, preferably by the end of the afternoon and the orders were to take it twice a day. Guess how you take this med. You self-inject it.

I’m pretty much a human pin cushion from countless allergy shots, hospital IVs, blood draws, etc., but all of those were administered by a medical professional. I’ve never, ever had to inject myself. And since I nearly passed out in 9th grade Biology when we had to prick our fingers to put blood on a microscope slide (I finally had to have my lab partner do it), this is enough to send ol’ MaryAnn to the psych ward for about 2 years.

This could not have happened at a worse time. Normally, I would probably have my son learn how to give me the injections, but he is moving to college this weekend. (He has a new reason to leave home!) Normally, my husband would rearrange his business schedule to help me out, but he is moving both of our sons this weekend. Normally, I know a pile of nursing students from our local university, but all of those have recently graduated and found positions in other communities. Normally, my daughter, who doesn’t live too far away, would probably meet me somewhere and help her poor mother out (even though I’m sure she’d rather go back to grad school!). She’s on a much needed vacation in Colorado with her new husband right now.

I got off the phone and the hubby could tell I was visibly shaken. I repeated what the nurse told me and we drove down the road silently for the next 10 minutes. Silence in the family car usually means something is drastically wrong. Then I received a series of additional phone calls from the same nurse with the following newsflashes: They don’t have the injectable stuff at my normal pharmacy that already understands how much garbage I endure because of my medical adventures, so I had to go through all the insurance garbage at another pharmacy. My primary care physican’s staff would not be able to give me the injections this coming weekend when they were closed. Pharmacies can’t give me the shots, either. I can’t have any alcohol whatsoever. (And after the first phone call, I was thinking inebriation might be the only way I could persuade myself to inject myself two times a day!) I can’t take any pain relievers except Tylenol and I can’t exceed 2000 mg of Tylenol per day (A mere pittance when I’m having a migraine and stress brings on my migraines.) I can’t be on antibiotics while on Warfarin. However, since my doctor won’t allow allergy shots right now, I’m coughing more which generally brings on bronchitis which is usually treated by antibiotics. I have to maintain a healthy diet, but no salad greens of any kind. No broccoli, either (A lot of my Lean Cuisines have broccoli in them.) I take cranberry pills to prevent yeast infections and you can’t take cranberry products when on Warfarin. (Read above to remind yourself about the old antibiotic thing!) Vitamin C and Vitamin K can be an issue, too. And both are in my multi-vitamin, of course.

Oh, and here are the kickers: I have to inject the shots into my stomach; I have to get blood drawn at least every week (maybe 3 times per week); and I’m not allowed to do anything in which I could injure myself (I walk into walls on a good day.) and I’m not supposed to gain any weight. So, how did mature MaryAnn respond? I burst into tears and I have only stopped long enough to consume lots of chocolate and other assorted junk food. I slept a total of 2 hours last night and my heart condition is stress-induced. Guess where my blood pressure was this morning? Right back where it was when I left the hospital in June…and that is NOT good. (It was fine yesterday morning before the appointment.)

So, for the last 18 hours I’ve been trying to do cognitive therapy on myself (There are some perks to having that master’s.) and I do have a contingency plan in effect until I can get my mind around this new little reality. The shots may continue for up to 4 weeks.

While I have a feeling I will have more “lessons to learn” as this progresses, here are the lessons learned (and a bunch of questions) so far from being a big, fat wimp:

1. Is this penance for actually owning Barry Manilow albums in the 70s and singing along to them???

2. Obviously, I’ve gone back to the 1970s, because I am now reverting to the “sailor language” of my college days. (My children do not believe I ever swore…my college homies would vehemently disagree.)

3. I can talk a brave game until I see the actual needle.

4. I have to shoot this stuff into my belly fat. Thanks, doc, for giving me twice daily reminders that I still have belly fat. Do not expect a Christmas present from me this year.

5. It will be easier to shoot this stuff into my belly fat, thanks to all the chocolate I plan to eat for the next 4 weeks….at least.

6. Open heart surgery now sounds so much more appealing.

7. Brain surgery now sounds so much more appealing and that may be what is needed in order for MaryAnn to stick herself on purpose.

8. When I was trying to opt out of this injection nonsense, Jesus chose that precise moment to remind me that he had nails pounded into his feet and hands. Yeah, Jesus. But you didn’t have to pound the nails in yourself.

9. Where is whale blubber when you need it?

10. Can I practice giving injections on my doctor first? (He has no stomach fat, and I’ve decided that’s my Christmas gift to him this year.)

11. Why is the practice needle about 1/3 the size of the one I’m supposed to really use???

12. I’m now beginning to understand why Jesus got perturbed with the disciples for not praying with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

13. Where is Jeremy Renner when I need him? Or Dr. Marta Schering??? Can I viral my way out of this??? Where are the frickin’ blue and green pills??? I guess I dropped them while jumping from one mountain top to another.

14. If this is what is required of me in my 50s, what will be required of me in my 70s??? Water boarding comes to mind.

15. I’m now reviewing the part of my counseling textbooks on systematic desensitization. My counseling homies just laughed their heads off.

16. I can watch the headlines on the Today show 5 times and still not comprehend what Lauer and Guthrie are still discussing. Savannah did get a new haircut.

17. Sudoku Kingdom is now my favorite new web site….especially at 3 am.

18. Solving world hunger sounds like a much easier problem to tackle today.

19. This pretty much effectively ends the internal discussion I’ve been having with myself (Yes, I’m now hearing voices in my head…not a positive sign for mental stability.) about whether I can continue to organize our church’s little venture to Women of Faith. Right now…I don’t think I effectively fit the description for a Woman of Faith.

20. Maybe coaching others through the stressors in their lives is not a good idea right now…unless misery loves company.

21. The novel was progressing pretty slowly as of late. Warp speed now.

22. Where is my “Get Out of Jail Free” card?

23. When you bawl like a hysterical little 3 year old, your husband will suddenly be willing to give you “the moon.”  And that’s where I’d like to be right now. Last time I checked there were no mean doctors or syringes anywhere on the surface of the moon.

24. When I bawl like a baby, my husband starts bribing random nurses with homemade ice cream. I hope he leaves some for me.

25. I thought masochism was a bad thing.

26. When you get a shot as a kid, the doctor gives you stickers or a lollipop. I better get an All Day Sucker for this venture…each…and every time.

27. As of today, I have a new prescription for Xanax.

28. Looking up the cost of sharps containers online can lead to some interesting pop-up ads. But, I still got the gratuitous Netflix ad.

29. I’m thinking of taking up sword-swallowing as my next hobby.

30. We may need to move up the Hawaii vacation planned for 2017 to…like…tomorrow.

31. It should be easy to get IN to Mexico, right??? If a drug lord points a gun in my face, I’m going to tell him he can have it all, but he has to inject me with 2 syringes a day for the next 10 days. That’s in his job description, isn’t it???

32. The first song on 70s on the 7 this morning was very helpful–“Taking Care of Business.” The second one–not so much: “Freddy’s Dead.”

33. I must have pissed off a gypsy in a former life.

34. Maybe reading a book entitled “Heaven” right now is not such a hot idea.

35. Makeup doesn’t hide the “shopping bags” under my eyes very well. Need to get another vat of concealer the next time I’m at Wally World. Maybe I can pick that up with the sharps container, the Xanax, and the swords. Do you need a license to carry a concealed sword?

36. Even waterproof mascara is pointless at this point…and I don’t really want to talk about points right now…not even Weight Watcher Points. However, I may need Jennifer Hudson to sing to me while I inject myself.

37. Amazon will deliver a semi-load of Godiva chocolates to my house for free by tomorrow morning if I subscribe to Amazon prime.

38. I don’t qualify for home health to help me with the injections because I drive  my own car. So, if I itch my foot, does that mean it rains in Jamaica? Remind me to make sure I have my driver’s license with me when I shoot up.

39. Where is a heroin addict when I need one? He can give me injections and I can give him substance abuse counseling…it’s a win-win, right?

40. I’m looking for a cave to crawl into and if I see any Al Qaeda members there, I’ll let you know.

41. Is this because I had 3 pieces of butterfinger pie last weekend?

42. TSA now has a new reason to completely obliterate any semblance of suitcase organization I might attempt (as if carrying nitro pills weren’t enough).

43. I used to have a phobia about mice.

44. My self esteem went on my Hawaiian vacation without me. It had better take good pics of the volcano.  Of course, TSA could confiscate its camera.

45. I have the greatest friends and family. Thanks for all of the prayers. Please pray that these meds work fast and I can get back to the usual stupid stuff of my life….like facing an empty nest.

You might also like: MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey, Lessons Learned from Completing a Hospital Survey, and This I Just Can’t Resist