The needles were what I was most scared of. Initially I imagined that John would administer my shots, but that idea was struck down the first go around, when his lightly shaky hands and 47-year old eyes made it clear this task would have to be up to me.

After 100+ pokes and pricks between the two rounds, I will say that I am much more at ease with sticking myself, but I have not yet arrived at blase about it.

I did learn a few things:

  • Needles come in different gauges. The narrowest penetrate the skin as if it were not even there.
  • The “insulin” needles aren’t too bad – they mostly go right in.
  • For blood draws, you can ask for narrower-gauge needles. (One nurse even asked me if I wanted kid-sized. Yes please!)
  • The real challenge is with the ones that you have to pull the medicine from inside a vial.

In these cases, I am guessing that the needle needs to be robust enough to penetrate the rubber seal without bending or breaking. It may also be that when you insert the needle through the rubber seal, the sharpness dulls some.

In any case, you can see in this glamorous image that I am struggling to get the needle to pierce the skin. I need to push push push – give it a twirl – it can take about 10 seconds of pushing – until it finally breaks the skin and goes in. I never thought I would be able to stomach this, but I can.

I was also reminded that there must be some kind of lining that holds your guts in. I can sometimes feel the needle scrape against it when I release the fold of belly fat before injecting the fluid. I wonder if it is the peritoneum I am scraping against, and each time I scrape it with the needle, I wonder how bad that is.

When you inject 1mL of fluid sub-cutaneously, it leaves a little bulge. And sometimes one drop of liquid bubbles out from the injection site. It’s freaky.

I’m not in love with needles, but at least I’m not phobic any more.

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