A shot in the behind is not such a big deal, I thought, rather smugly, I might add, as I drove from the Costco pharmacy to my doctor's office. I even smiled at the trepidation in which my eight-year-old would have made the same journey if it had been she who would be pulling down her pants and supplying the nurse with a clear "shot" at her target, namely, my exposed derriere. Oh the drama, the tears (both real and engineered) that would have circulated my mini van had that been the case! But I--I was a pro with such things, I congratulated myself. So I happily performed my end of the deal by picking up the Rocephin shot from the pharmacy and driving the distance to the doctor's office with no more concern than that of a delivery boy . . . er girl, in this case.
Then I got to the doctor's office.
They greeted me amiably and asked me to sit in the waiting area after I explained my purpose for being there. The visit was all pre-arranged, of course, but that didn't stop the concern and hushed voices that drifted past the front desk and into my hearing as they discussed me. A moment later an aide came up to me and asked for the "instructions" from the pharmacist.
I'm a big girl. It isn't necessarily alarming if the doctor's office needs to brush up on the instructions for administering a shot right? I wasn't sure if I was convincing myself. After enduring 30 minutes in an empty waiting room I decided I wasn't. They were seriously clueless.
I closed my eyes and imagined what website they were using for their crash course.
A few minutes later the nurse called me back. She looked nice. And young. I tried not to consider what she knew . . . or didn't know about shots, specifically Rocephin shots.
I didn't have to wait long to find out.
"This is one of the worst shots you can get. I'm afraid it's going to hurt," she said apologetically. "It won't be from the needle prick, but the liquid I'm injecting is very thick, and it hurts going in. You will probably be sore for quite some time, and you will be worse tomorrow. You may experience some bruising too."
Pain. I can handle pain, I thought. It probably won't even be very long--just a quick prick and then I'm done.
I'm such an optimist. If only optimism could have a more significant impact on reality.
If I were exaggerating I would say the shot took about 10 minutes but felt like an hour. In reality it took about 2, but I felt every second. In fact, I had the distinct sensation that someone (that nice, smiling nurse, no doubt, though it was all a bit foggy) was trying to stretch my skin to enclose an elephant, and while she was at it she might as well make sure to aim one of his tusks into my muscle and wriggle it around a bit for good measure. I felt hot and my face flushed with the pain. And there was something else too--dead leg. My left "cheek" was starting to feel like I had just climbed a mountain using only my left leg. Surely it must be nearly over, I thought after what seemed an eternity. When I felt I would die if it lasted much longer the nurse comforted me with the news that she was "just about half-way done." Uncle!
"Just about 10% left now," she said after several moments more. And then--finally--it was over.
At least the stretching of my skin to enclose the elephant was over. And the elephant had apparently stopped ramming his tusk into my muscle too. Now I was just left with the aftermath of such an experience, which, for me, meant a spasm of pain from my hip to my toes.
I thanked the nurse because that's just the way I am, and I seem to worry more about the rudeness of not offering up my gratitude than the fact that I really wasn't thankful at that moment. Then I gathered my things and launched a valiant effort to leave before I realized I wasn't going anywhere. Seeing my pale yet fevered face, the nurse helped me back to the exam room, and I lay down for a few minutes until the heat flash and dizziness wore off.
And as I lay there (with one "cheek" off the bed) I thought how wise--how spot-on--my daughter is, afterall, to shed a few tears in dread of a shot.
Searching for Irene by Marlene Sullivan
3 weeks ago