Monday, April 21, 2008

Rolling Your Own

Did your parents do it?

When was the first time you did it?

OK, class, minds out of the gutter (!) Insulin injections are a tricky topic for me. I didn't start off doing my own shots. Like everyone else I learned how to do them in the hospital--several unsuspecting oranges later, I successfully injected myself with saline a few times. I was nervous when the first "real" needle plunged into my body, perhaps more than anyone realized. But I played the role of compliant patient perfectly. At twelve, my doctor considered me mature enough to handle my diabetes on my own.

When I finally went home, though, all that changed. I didn't protest when my mom took over the first few days--"just to make sure you're all right", she said. She had worked in a hospital for nine years and was comfortable with needles. Those days stretched into weeks, then months. We silently fell into an arrangement: Mom would draw up my dose, carefully rolling the Lente bottle, mixing it and the Regular into a cloudy column inside the syringe. I would "try" to do the shot myself, and when I finally gave up after two or three half-hearted pricks, Mom would take over. We then dutifully marked off the site on my rotation sheet and forgot about the charade until the time for my next injection came around. This continued for about three years.

One summer day, I decided I'd do it on my own. For good. Mom didn't say anything, but she seemed relieved. Most of the time she still did the rolling and the mixing, but from that day on she never had to "help" me with the actual injections. I look back now and think of the pain she must have endured, sticking needles into her little girl. I never cried or complained, but it must have bothered her. I never meant to cause my mom any heartache. It was something unspoken, unintended. I thought she preferred it that way, and I liked having her take care of me. She used the backs of my arms a lot, or a leg in the warm months. For me, it was far easier to do abdomen sites, which I use 95% of the time to this day.

So, when did you take charge of your own care, fellow OC'ers? Did your parents "help" like mine?


George said...

I was 17 so I learned the day after I was diagnosed.

I do not think my mother ever learned how to give me a shot although back in the 70's I am pretty sure she *ahem* "rolled her own." What a hippy! ;)

Allison said...

I started giving my own injections pretty soon after being diagnosed. But I didn't start "rolling my own" (which is true, since I was on NPH and regular and you have to roll NPH to get it cloudy again) until I was about ten or eleven.

HVS said...

My mom had to learn how to do it(like you,I started out on Regular + Lente) but at 17, they didn't start me out on was watch the nurse do it 3x, then do it yourself,voila, you graduate from the hospital. I'm glad my mom learned how to,though, because several months later I had eyesight problems and she had to help me draw up, read my meter, etc. for several weeks. She helped alot with the diet stuff though..making it easier for me to eat healthy.

Thank goodness for caring parents, some people aren't so lucky.

Jillian said...

I was only 5 when I was diagnosed, so obviously the idea of me injecting myself was never brought up at the hospital. It was a duty that fell to my mom, although my dad and sister learned how to give injections too, I just didn't trust anyone but her. I was in 4th grade when I decided that I could do it for myself. She taught me and the rest is history. Now the question is...can she place a perfect pump site like she could with shots? I doubt it, but I'm thankful for all the help she provided in the early years.

Karen said...

I was 11 when I was diagnosed. I remember well those training session on the oranges in the hospital. As far as I remember - I did my own injections a first. Then, some time later, I went through so weird thing where I froze up and just couldn't do them - my mom had to. I remember trying, like you, but not being able to stick that needle in. Then, one day, I guess I just started doing them again - it's been so long, I don't remember how long I was "frozen" and couldn't do them. I never thought about how hard it must have been for my mom. Thanks for getting me to think about that - I'll have to give her another big thank you!

~Suzanne~ said...

I was 9 when I was diagnosed and I have always done my own. I would never allow my mom to come near me with a needle!! I was all about being in total control!!

However, once in college, my boyfriend at the time would insert my sites for my pump, just because I would agonize over them and he could do it quite quickly! Now I have "The Inserter"!

Donna said...

I started giving my own shots when I was about 8 years old. One morning, my mom was in the basement doing some laundry & it was time for my shot. She had it already laying there on the kitchen counter ready to go. So I just did it. I never let her do it again. To this day, I hate for anyone else to give me injections. I thinks it's my control freak coming out. :)

k2 said...

I was 8 when I was diagnosed. And a few weeks after coming home from the hospital, I started doing the shots myself. It hurt less, and I wanted to show how big I could be. I rolled my own bottles as well. Our house was so hectic with 3 diabetics, I guess I wanted some control because I knew it would equal freedom.