Learning to Give Injections

I currently live with my grandmother, who has been living with Type II Diabetes since I was in third grade. (I’m 28… so that’s about twenty years of dealing with the disease!)

A few months ago, our family doctor decided that the pills she was taking to control her blood sugar just weren’t enough. It was time to start on insulin. And who was the logical choice to play nurse and administer shots? The person who lives with her, of course! (Due to various problems of vision and dexterity, my grandmother really can’t give her own shots.)

Now let me just preface the next part of the story with another memorable family health adventure. My cousin was working on his car in the driveway when the jack slipped and the car fell, cutting his arm pretty badly. My reaction? I ran into the kitchen, threw up, and passed out. Always composed under pressure, that’s me!

My mother and I called out my aunt, a former hospital nurse and current school nurse. She gave us a lesson, and then we were on our own. In brief: fill needle to correct amount, pinch the injection site, swipe with alcohol, insert needle, push plunger, remove needle, swipe with alcohol.

That’s the REALLY brief version. Sure… sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Well after the first time I gave the shot, I nearly lost my lunch. I’m definitely not cut out for a career in nursing! Or shot giving, at the very least.

Thank goodness I’ve gotten less sensitive about the whole procedure. (Especially since we’re up to two shots a day!) I find that it helps if my grandmother pinches the injection site for me; that way I can have two hands free for manipulating the needle. I really haven’t gotten the hang of the whole doing it one-handed thing. Also, I try really hard NOT to think about what I’m actually doing – jabbing a small piece of metal into my grandmother’s skin. (Barf!!!) I concentrate on things like keeping my hand steady and pressing the plunger. It’s sort of a variation on the “this is not my arm” trick I try when I’m on the receiving end of the needle.

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