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View Full Version : I have to give shots. Please help me.


Max Torque
10-21-2005, 09:13 AM
The situation: my wife and I are attempting to have a baby. Because she has a condition called McCune-Albright Syndrome, the odds of it happening without assistance are slim at best. So, we begged and borrowed all the money we could, and we're doing in vitro fertilization.

Here's where the fun starts. As you may have guessed, part of doing in vitro is shots. Lots of shots. But they don't have a licensed medical professional actually give the shots. Instead, they give us the drugs and needles and have me give the shots to my wife, or have her give them to herself.

Last night was Shot #3, and I still feel that I haven't got the hang of it, despite loads of practice on oranges and the like. Fortunately, we're still in the beginning stage, which means only one shot per day. All too soon, however, we'll be at the stage where she has to receive four shots per day, two of which have to be "mixed" (a powder is combined with saline and then injected). I can't believe that they'll just give this stuff to people, send them home with minimal training, and expect them to perform.

I hate giving the shots. My heart rate speeds up. I hesitate and have to force myself to do it. Afterward, I feel guilty and sad because ohmygod I just hurt my wife. Last night, we both got kinda freaked, because we tried to give her the injection in her stomach (one of the recommended spots) and we couldn't. She jumped every time before I'd even broken the skin, and more or less had the beginning of a small anxiety attack. So, after two false jabs, I finally gave it to her in her arm. And because we were both so tense and anxious after the false starts, I think I pinched too hard and she bled a tiny bit. It was only a couple of drops, but I was wrecked. I made my wife bleed! She trusted me, and I let her down!

I need help. Surely some of you are doctors or nurses, or maybe you're a diabetic or married one, or something. We counted last night, and we have 45 shots to go before we're through with this. And if we don't make it through, we'll have thrown $10K down the toilet.

I need advice, or even reassuring words. Here's what I'm working with: the needles are small. If I recall the numbers correctly, the needles are 30 gauge, 1/2" long, so very tiny, like an insulin syringe. The injections are subcutaneous, so I don't have to hit a vein or anything. But holy smokes, it's tough to push a needle into the skin of someone you love.

I'm feeling very helpless right now, faced with maybe two months of this. I appreciate anything that you guys can pass along.

WhyNot
10-21-2005, 09:28 AM
Sweetheart, you're going to see her in a LOT more pain if all this goes well, and at some point during it, she's likely to point out that it's ALL YOUR FAULT!!! so....

Let's see...practical advice. I'm sure they already told you to plunk the needle in as if you're aiming about half an inch under the skin, right? That is, don't think of the skin as a barrier or something to aim for - you're aiming for a point under it. Sounds weird, but that little psychological switch helped me a lot.

Be quick and be decisive and you'll cause her a lot less pain. Don't try to be gentle: being gentle = being slow and that doesn't help with an injection at all! Try to talk about something else with her. That will help to distract her.

One thing you might try is choosing a common word, and having that be your GO word. For example, choose the word "for", talk to her about something, and when she says the word "for", then that's your cue to jab her. She doesn't know the word, but you do. It becomes an exterior stimulus, and takes away your "should I do it now? What about now? Ok, no, really, NOW!" hesitation that makes it harder.

Hampshire
10-21-2005, 09:52 AM
Max,
I feel for you man.
I gave my wife the full round of invitro shots last fall including all the sub-q shots in the belly, the follistem pen shots in the belly, that one you mentioned where you mix the meds, and the awful progesterone-in-oil shots in the butt with the 1.5" needle.
She did get pregnant and had our twin daughters prematurely at 24 weeks. They passed away two weeks later (a seperate long and sad story).

Needless to say we started again last month and she got pregnant again. We are continuing to do the progesterone shots for another 4 weeks nightly.

Believe me when I say it will get better the more you do them. Starting with the little .5" needles seems tough, but by the time you work your way up to the big suckers those will seem like nothing.

This is part of our routine. Have her sit upright so there is a natural fold of belly skin there for you to work with. If she's lying flat it will make you have to pinch harder. Don't pinch her, just hold the skin comfortably. When your ready ask her "ready?". When she says "yes" that's her cue to close her eyes, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. While she's exhaling stick her quickly like a dart, if you do it slow it hurts a lot more. Push the plunger counting 1..2.. and pull the needle out with a quick pull. Immediately rub the area with your fingers like you'd rub a mosquito bite.
Tell her how proud you are of her, how brave she is, and how you appreciate her going through this for the both of you (every single shot).

I'm a guy who gets quezzy around doctors and couldn't watch shots being given. Now I feel like a pro. Let me know when you need help with the intermuscular 1.5" needles with the progesterone-in-thick-oil. Thats a whole nother routine.

vertizontal
10-21-2005, 09:54 AM
My wife and I went through all of this, too, and I was a nervous wreck leading up to the first injection.

We were instructed to do the initial shots (using the small needles you described) in the fatty part of the arm (no one ever recommended the stomach). I pinched the appropriate amount with my left hand (not to tightly), and then with the syring in my right hand, gave a "flick of the wrist" to quickly insert the needle, and then pushed the plunger to inject the medicine. She said that it rarely hurt at all when I gave her injections with these needles. After doing the first of these small injections, we were perfectly fine the subsequent times. During a couple of times when I couldn't be there, she gave herself those injections in her leg. Again, she didn't have a problem with it.

I was nervous again, when the shots changed, and I needed to use a larger needle to inject into her rear. Once again, after the first time, we realized that it wasn't so bad. A quick flick of the wrist worked just fine, but with a little more force to get deeper into tissue. (These injections occassionally stinged, she said.)

And then much later, she needed an injection of projesterone and oil, requiring an even larger needle. This one hurt, she said.

So to sum up, most of the injections were not a big deal. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Stark Raven Mad
10-21-2005, 09:55 AM
IANAD, but I've been giving myself injections for the past couple of years.

There are lots of guides sitting around on the net for insulin-dependant diabetics or nurses-in-training that give intimate detail on methodology,with illustrations. Here (http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/patient_education/pepubs/subq.pdf)'s one. (PDF file)

Tips?

Hold the pin like a dart, and jab it in quickly. Helps to have a steady hand, but you can always just start from closer to the injection site.

The stomach is by far the easiest place to inject.

Massage! Welts are ugly.

I used to leak my stuff all over the place, until I start z-tracking my shots, but you shouldn't have that problem with subcutaneous injections. Just in case, though, look here (http://www.nursing-standard.co.uk/archives/ns/vol13-39/v13w39p4753.pdf) (scroll down). As I said, shouldn't be an issue unless the missus is carrying around a fair bit of weight.

And most of all - relax! It's simple drug administration - you're not going to kill or hurt her or anything. Shots shouldn't hurt more than a good pinch (unless you're injecting something really acidic or alcohol); it's mostly the needle thing that gets to people.

GrizzRich
10-21-2005, 10:13 AM
I feel for ya brother.
GrizzWife and I went through three rounds of IVF so I know what you're going through. It's hard to get over the fact that you're jabbing your loved-one with a needle and injecting her with chemicals.
Ask if it's possible to give the shots in the top of the thighs, too. That'll give you more areas to use and give her time for the soreness to go away before you have to go back to the same site.
After about a week, you'll really get the hang of it. It'll happen a lot more easily and with less anxiety, I'm sure.

I second the advice given here. Insulin-needle shots are the easiest to give and there's only a little discomfort involved.

Unfortunately, the anxiety level goes back up again when you have to give the progesterone-in-oil shots. Those use a larger (intramuscular) gauge needle and because the solution is so thick. My best advice there is to warm the progesterone container between in your hand to make it flow more easily.

Max Torque
10-21-2005, 02:21 PM
Wow, a lot of people who have done IVF. This gives me hope.


And most of all - relax! It's simple drug administration - you're not going to kill or hurt her or anything. Shots shouldn't hurt more than a good pinch (unless you're injecting something really acidic or alcohol); it's mostly the needle thing that gets to people.
Yeah, that's true, but it's hard to get over that hump. Tonight she's going to try injecting into her stomach herself, which will hopefully go a lot better than when I tried it. In retrospect, one thing that went wrong was that we tried to do it on her right side. She's had ovarian cysts on that side pretty much her whole life, which caused her much pain, and even though she had the cysts removed this spring, she's still attuned to flinching violently whenever someone touches her right side. That hadn't occurred to either of us at the time. Hopefully, like I say, she'll be better at doing that one herself.

A question, just in case: can the skin be numbed for some of these? Like, with ice? Or would that be a bad thing?

mack
10-21-2005, 05:37 PM
I remember my wife using ice packs, and in a pinch, a bag of frozen corn for the big butt shots. Peas would be good too, I imagine.

Some shots go better than others. One thing that will help is that you be swift and sure. Grit your teeth and do it. Don't make every shot a big agonizing thing.

Hampshire
10-26-2005, 10:14 AM
5 days after and 5 shots after the OP.

Getting the hang of it yet?