April 6, 2010

Shot in the Arm

On the Easter weekend, Mike asked for my help in giving himself an insulin shot.

I'd never done this before. So of course, you know it's going to be adventure.

We've been married since September 2005 and together since early 2000, and for nearly all of that time he's been on an insulin pump. Through the years, I've occasionally helped him put in an infusion site by squeezing a spot on his arm, near-back, or other hard to reach places. But since he hasn't been injecting since the early days of our dating life, I hadn't ever done that. Recently, he took a break from insulin pumping for the first time in nine years in order to let his body heal some. He's been doing Multiple Daily Injections since March 26, taking a Lantus Pen dose each night and Humalog injections throughout the day as needed for food and correction boluses.

Needing to use a new spot on the backside of his arm, he summoned me to assist. But instead of just squeezing, he wanted me to actually inject the 1/2 cc needle. A quick how-to and we were set.

Put it into the pinched backside of flesh, about on the halfway point of his left arm. Pushed the plunger down. He didn't flinch or say anything and indicated everything seemed fine.

Pulled it out, turning the needle slightly as I've seen him do when pulling a needle out on his own.

That's when he flinched. And made a comment. And the blood started flowing.

Not much blood, but enough to notice and find something to wipe it up and hold to the arm for a few moments.

It must have knicked a muscle or vein inside, he said, noting that it didn't hurt at first.

I hung my head low in shame, feeling as though I'd failed miserably on my debut insulin injection.

He reassured me that it was fine, not my fault, but the facts can't be ignored.

I stabbed my husband with a sharp needle, made him bleed, and caused a bruise.

I'm done with giving insulin shots. Instead, I'll go back to pinching the skin and letting him do the shot so that whatever damage happens is on his hands.