Shots and needles.

Mae is the nurse that taught me how to give myself shots. We’ve been friends for 10+ years. Early morning hours before we took off on our 100 mile bike ride for Tour de Cure for Diabetes 2014.

“I could never give myself a shot.  How did you learn to do it?”

I was told I was diabetic and the doctor literally gave me a bag with a vial of insulin and a handful of syringes in it.

He walked out the door…

I was scared to death. Being told I was full-blown diabetic was scary enough, but now I was going to be on insulin. I was given NO INSTRUCTIONS on how to give myself a shot.  It was ALL just a little (ok… a lot…) too much.

The doc did tell me they had to be done in a very specific way; administered within an 8 inch radius of my belly button.  Did I understand what he was telling me.  I numbly nodded yes… (I tend to do that when I am totally intimidated or totally lost… 🙂 )

I sat there dazed, confused, starting to cry… Mae walked in the room.  Mae was the nurse. And this is how I remember what happened next…

Me: Crying in earnest now…  ‘I don’t know how to give myself a shot.  And I have to…”  (There may have been some wailing or sobbing or arm-flapping in there… Mae could tell you in better detail.)

Mae:  ‘Let’s see what is in that bag in your hands. We will figure this out…’

She proceeded to calmly and reassuringly talk me through what each thing was and how it was used.  She told me to get a Sharp’s container and alcohol pads. She talked me through how to give myself a shot.

I dried the tears after a while and walked out.

I knew that I HAD NO CHOICE. It was something I was simply going to have to do it.  I would just have to learn.

I got home and put everything on the counter.

I fished around for what I needed and eventually drew the meds into the syringe.

Then I stood there… With the needle pointed at my belly… Thumb on the plunger of the syringe…

I knew I had to give myself the shot.

So I started this ‘dance‘.  I don’t know what else to call it.  I was basically chasing myself around the kitchen…  I would try to bring the syringe in close and I would back away from MYSELF. I have no other explanation to offer. I was chasing myself around the kitchen. I am positive it looked totally ridiculous.

And then I stood still some more with the needle poised… WILLING myself to just give myself the damn shot.

I COULD NOT do this...

I cried some more. Cussed a lot. Stomped my feet. Threw the syringe.

Deep breath.

Cussing fluently and quite creatively at this point – but with less volume…

I retrieved the syringe and checked to make sure it was all in one piece and that the right amount of insulin was still in it.

Ok.  So maybe if I metaphorically ‘took a running jump…’?  You know — STOPPED thinking about it so much and just jumped in with both feet???

That’s how people conquer things they are afraid of — they JUST do it…

So I grabbed the syringe in both hands.

Stood there for a moment and then finally got up the nerve…

I STABBED myself in the gut.


Much like a scene from Romeo and Juliet – with the dagger…  I used enough force that I knocked the wind out of myself. I wound up sporting a faint, softball sized bruise on my belly that looked remarkably like my fist.  🙂

But I got it done!

Turns out those needles are fine gauge and short. You can barely feel them.  HONEST!  There were several times over the years where I would give myself a shot and have to look down and check to make sure the needle had actually connected with my belly.

But that first time?

That first time I had to give myself a shot?

That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. PURE fear. But I got it done.

I just did it. 🙂

(Nike has it right.)  🙂

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