my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


I'm Not A Doctor, But I Play One In This House

So last night I have my hand in Bucky's ear canal up to my wrist -- yes, I know, there are far worse canals my hand could be up -- as I'm flushing, swabbing and administering drops to a dog that at least THIS time is wagging his tail at me. When we first started this, I got growling and teethbaring. Not the Look of Love he now bestows upon me.

And today, as I do once every two weeks, I found myself preparing Jim's injection. This is the part of my quasi-physicianship around here that I'm kind of proud of.

Any child who was sent to the tropics at age five, as I was in the mid-'50s, who was forced to have what must have been twenty injections from some amateur corpsman in some military hospital, is bound to come out of it with traumatic association with hypodermics. I mean, those HURT.

I'm over it by now, but I didn't embrace the idea of inflicting the same kind of pain on someone very close to me.

Six months ago, though, there I was in a doctor's office with a nurse giving me lessons in giving shots. I knew I had to do it but I really didn't want to. And I couldn't admit how much I didn't want to, because that would have been letting the side down.

So here we are. I pick up the hypodermic barrel. I take the 18-gauge needle and tightly twist it onto the barrel.

I then take the medication vial out of the box and use an alcohol swab to swipe the permeable rubber seal on top.

I draw back the cartridge to the one cc measure and plunge the needle through the seal. Push the cartridge down to expel the air into the medication and then slowly draw the viscous fluid into the hypodermic barrel. Slowly, slowly. Being careful not to draw air into the cartridge. Because horrible things can happen if you're sloppy with air and injections.

Fill the barrel. Pull the needle out of the vial.

Top the needle with its cap, twist off the needle and replace it with the thinner 22-gauge needle. Tap loose any remaining air bubbles. Remove the cap. Push the cartridge a tiny bit to make sure fluid is at the needle end.

Now the horrifying part:

A vulnerable portion of a person you care a great deal for is exposed to you. Briskly rub a two inch section of flesh with an alcohol swab for about thirty seconds. Pinch a section of the vulnerable portion so that you have a little mound of flesh.

Quickly push the needle one inch deep into that human being who makes you coffee every morning. Pull the barrel out, drawing air into the needle to make sure there's no blood; you haven't hit a blood vessel, thank God.

Now you're almost home. Slowly, carefully push the barrel down, pushing the medication through the needle into the muscle. Almost there, almost there.

It's in.

Quickly pull the needle out, brightly announce, "You're done!" and start briskly rubbing the injection site with another alcohol swab to disperse the medication into the muscle.

Honestly, I thought I'd throw up the first time I did it. But I'm good at it now. He says he doesn't feel it at all.

He's a liar but I appreciate the vote of confidence.

Today's fragrance: Sage Machado Amber, elegant wood; sweet resin set in stone.


Blogger thc said...

I'm sure I could do it if I had to, but I just don't like thinking about needles.

6:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are the Brave Mireille and he's fortunate to have you dear!

Happy Birthday!! Sweet Summer Solstice girl.


7:29 AM

Blogger Urban Chick said...

when i needed a series of injections (administered by mr chick in the comfort of our own home too!), we had a wonderful little pen which did the shooting into flesh bit - in fact, still have it someplace (yell if you want it!!!!)

still hurt though!

8:29 AM

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

what a great description M. My first husband was an insulin dependent diabetic. He hated needles. He had to give himself one two to three times per day. I would watch in morbid fascination, the steps you described and the feelings written on his face. Luckily, insulin needles are smaller and higher gauge than what you describe. But still, the anxiety and dread is real.

I bet it helps a lot to have a nurse who is lovely, smart, and sporting a fresh pedicure.

Now about those ears....would you come and do Casper's ears? We both hate it. I've never had a dog who required plucking and flushing before. We all have our crosses to bear I guess :-D

8:42 AM

Anonymous Laura said...

Micki, add another heroine item to your already teeming inventory.
Your fan.

9:12 AM

Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What a brave and dear heart you have, Miri, for both your Jim and Bucky. Both are truly lucky to have you.

9:41 AM

Blogger katiedid said...

I get freaked out by needles, too. Good on you for swallowing your fear for the good of someone dear.

And as the rumor goes today is a special day for you, so celebrate it with abandon! :)

9:43 AM

Blogger mireille said...

aw shucks, it ain't nothing. but thanks for thinking I'm a Great American Hero. *eating it up*

9:55 AM

Blogger Urban Chick said...

ooh yes, i remember now: happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:03 AM

Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Don't like needles. Skimmed your post with eyes half shut.

But: happy birthday!!

2:20 PM

Blogger Trina said...

You are just so wonderful, overcoming your own blocks to do this for him! (((M)))

And happy birthday, sweetie!

2:25 PM

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

You are an angel! It ain't easy being a shot-giver I am sure.

Happy birthday!

3:36 PM

Blogger actonbell said...

Wow, you're awesome!
and Happy Birthday!

4:47 PM

Blogger Atreau said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL!!! May you be blessed with many, many more!

Oh my you are brave! *faints* I get so weak when it comes to blood. Needles I have no problem with, it's the blood!

7:22 PM

Anonymous neko said...


(That't Happy Birthday in Japanese!)

10:20 PM

Blogger cjblue said...

Brave, brave M! My husband is an insulin-dependent diabetic since he was 5. Thankfully, I've never had to administer his shots, although I probably could. Good for you, getting over your trauma!

9:25 AM


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