So Your Doctor Wants You to Give Yourself Injections…
As a nurse I’ve given thousand of injections, and every time a patient says “wow, I didn’t even feel that!” I give myself a little gold star. Not to brag but I’m pretty darn good at giving injections, drawing blood, and placing IV’s. Now I was the one having to give myself daily injections, so what? Who cares? I never even flinch when I have blood drawn or get shots!
It’s a whole different ballgame when you turn the needle on yourself! Especially when you are injecting burny, stingy, all around unpleasant drugs! Thus began the story of me learning my ABC’s (Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone) of MS. Since diagnosis I have been on two different injectables, Copaxone and Rebif. Here are a few little tips and tricks I used to get the job done:
#1: Technique. I opted for the auto injector but I have heard that if you are brave enough hand injecting is much nicer on those sensitive areas like the thighs.
#2: Distraction. You know that loud CLICK of the auto injector that happens just when you got brave enough to press the button? Yea me too! Try to give your injection in a room with some background noise like music or the TV so that click doesn’t make you jump and therefore make the injection more painful than it has to be.
#3: Reward yourself. At first I would give my injection before dinner. Dinner smelled so good, I was hungry, I wanted that goodness in my belly- but I didn’t let myself have it until I did my stupid shot. I didn’t want it to get cold so I had to go relatively fast, and immediately afterwards I was distracted by eating.
#4: Heat/Cold. Play with heat before and ice after, I found that I liked nothing before and heat after…trial and error! Another good friend suggested light exercise of the area to get the blood flowing. For example of you are injecting your arm do some arm curls. Another tip is to do your shot after a warm bath/shower (not too warm, haha!)
#5: NSAIDS. If you are on rebif take those NSAIDS 30-60min before your shot, it reduces those flu like symptoms and generally makes life much happier.
#6: Utilize Resources. I’m a nurse, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had injection nurses come to my house several times to check my technique. Nobody stays the same size. You gain weight, you loose weight etc…therefore your injection sites are forever changing. These wonderful amazing nurses come help you get out of your stubborn ruts and do it right. They’ll also check out any funky injection site reactions and help you avoid lipoatrophy (not cute).
#7: Utilize Family & Friends. At first I would Skype my parents and make them yell at me until I did it (to be clear I TOLD them to yell at me). And on days where I just can’t do it and my fiancé is home he steps up to the plate and does it for me. He’s the bestest!
What other tips and tricks have you stumbled upon??
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