Fully confident of my GP’s lack of co-operation next Monday, I took the liberty of ordering myself some B12 shots last weekend and they arrived today. Once the delivery man had gone, I realised that I would need to take affirmative action and get my butt down to my local chemist to get some needles and syringes. I was not particularly enthralled at the prospect. A needle exchange has some very seedy connotations and to be quite frank, the prospect of sticking a needle into myself is more than slightly abhorrent.
I called the pharmacy first and asked whether they were still part of the Exchange and they confirmed they were, so I got into my car and drove down there. As I walked in, there were a fair few people inside. At this point, I didn’t really know what to expect, so wandered up to the counter and told the lady behind the counter that I was looking to get some needles. The look on her face told me that she wasn’t sure exactly what I was asking, so I said that I believed they were part of the Needle Exchange, fully expecting to be taken into a side room, or at least somewhere a bit more private, but no. She had the packages behind the counter and over to the side so then began the discussion about which needles I wanted. How the hell do I know? I’ve never done anything like this before!
I ended up with an “opiate pack” and scuttled back to my car.
I was still shaking by the time I got home. Why? I think part of it was the fact that I was going it alone and doing this without my GP’s sanction which is still a bit scary for me. I’ve spent a large chunk of my life doing as I’m told (I know that’s probably hard to believe, but it’s true!) so for me to consider injecting myself with vitamins is a Big Thing.
Upon opening the pack, there were 15 needles and syringes, a sharps bin and several sachets of citric acid. Upon a quick Google, I discovered that the citric acid was for cooking up heroin. So maybe I look like a junkie? I thought I looked quite respectable. Ho hum. Needless to say, I didn’t use them.
I had already found the relevant video on YouTube and watched it all the way through again so I had a better idea of what I was supposed to be doing and off I went.
Cover the neck of the ampoule with a tissue and crack it open ampoule – Check
Fill syringe with B12. Well. Fill, empty to get rid of air bubble, refill, re-empty (repeat several times). I got there in the end
Identify injection site. Check
Plunge in needle. Um. Really? Put tip of needle up to skin and think “ouch, that’s gonna hurt”. I must have dithered for a whole 2-3 minutes (which felt like an hour) before doing the deed but eventually just did it. Surprised that it didn’t hurt, I looked down and saw that yes, in fact, the needle was buried in my skin. I tentatively pushed the plunger slowly. Yep – going down. I took a good 30 seconds to push it all the way down as I’d seen that it could sting if it went in too fast. I tried it. Yep – it stung. Slowly does it then.
After I was done I was shaking like a leaf. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. For the next couple of hours, I could feel the area around the numb patch on my leg was feeling a bit sore – a bit like when a dental anaesthetic wears off and everything is coming back to life. Sadly, the numb patch is still there, but fractionally smaller. Fractionally. Or maybe that’s just my imagination. Either way, the big hurdle has been jumped.