Auto Injection Difficulties.

Auto Injection Difficulties

In 2017, a year ago, I met my new endocrinologist. He did a thorough evaluation of my meds and changed them up. He put me on an oral med and an injectable. There are a couple of injectables out there that are not insulin. The injectable he chose was the best plan of attack since I wasn’t ready for insulin, physically or emotionally. This med has been a good one for me in the bigger picture. However. There have been speed bumps. I’m not referring to what the med does. The med is amazing. I’m referring to the process of giving it to myself. Let me explain.

The endo instructed me that this med is an auto inject device. I don’t have to measure anything. It’s only given once a week. He only wanted it given in the abdomen. Not the thigh or arm like the manufacturer offered. It has to be in the abdomen. He taught me how to give it to myself. Place it, stabilize it, press and hold, wait for the click, done. Don’t use the same site every week, alternate sides. I thought, ok. I can do this. He didn’t tell me much else. It seemed simple enough.

Minor problems with the auto-injector

The first shot posed a minor problem. I do not have a very large abdomen relative to my…top half. I will refer to them as ‘my girls.’ Slightly embarrassing is that ‘the girls’ were, shall we say, in the way. When you have never given yourself an injection before and it takes 2 hands to do it…well, I think you can see how this was a bit a problem. It’s hard to find the spot, stabilize it and hike the girls up at the same time when you can’t see what you’re doing very well. I managed but I had one whopper of a bruise. It was as big as a toonie/silver dollar. Ouch!

After this ‘the girls’ did not present a problem. I had figured that part out. What I couldn’t figure out for a very long time was how to avoid the bruising. I stay 2” away from the belly button as directed. I have come to realize the bruising is part of it. I really wish I’d known this ahead of time. I have struggled weekly for the last year trying to figure out how I could not bruise. It seems I can’t.

Major problems with the auto-injector

The humor out of the way, I had to deal with the stinging pain each week as well as the local tenderness and underlying inflammation that can last days. This particular auto inject is very forceful. I tried everything I could think of to reduce these issues. I had the family doc and nurse practitioner watch me give it. Doc suggested giving it lower where I have more fat. I was told that I am doing it correctly. I tried sitting to give. I tried icing the area before and icing after. Inevitably I’d end up in tears and bruised every week. I asked the endo about it, he looked at me and said “I don’t know what to tell you. I got nothin…I’m just being honest…I got nothin.” (He wasn’t being mean or unkind, he just knew his limit). After we both stopped laughing, I decided it was just the way it was going to be. I was feeling a bit deflated. I don’t want to go off the med because it works for me but I wasn’t sure how long I could do this. What was I going to do if I needed insulin and had to do this daily or multiple times a day? More tears.

Now, I don’t give up easily. I kept trying new ways to give it but it just ended up the same every week. Then in the last three weeks, I gave it as usual and…very little pain, very little inflammation. What did I do differently? I gave it standing up. That’s it. I stood up. Well. Almost it. I really stabilized it with one hand and pressed the auto inject with the other. It seems I can hold it better standing. I had always given it sitting because I thought I had more belly to inject into. I still bruise but that appears now to be more cosmetic. They are sometimes big but they don’t hurt.

I guess it pays to not give up.

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