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Friday, 18 January 2008

And . . . I finally injected

Yesterday morning, I biked over to my friendly neighborhood doctor's office and asked t speak with a nurse there. The desk person seemed to think this was kind of a weird request. It's pretty normal in Holland, at least. I waited a very short period of time which I spent conversing with an overly-friendly patient who told me my sweater was "pretty." umm

I had brought with me my vial of T, some needles and my aborted needle from the night before, still with most of a dose in it. I explained I had gotten freaked out, that T had leaked everywhere, that I thought I was going to stab something vital, etc.

She told me to throw away the needle with a partial dose left in it and just start over, injecting the full amount. Some of the T might have gotten to the right place, but it probably didn't and the old needle tip would be blunted from re-use and the dose in it might not be sterile anymore. So just start over.

Then she assured me that there wasn't much danger involved with this kind of shot. If I stab way too deep, I might hit my bone (ack), but that doesn't happen to people unless they're really, really, really skinny. And even if you hit your bone, it causes pain, but it doesn't actually hurt anything. It's also possible to hit a blood vessel, but the risk there is just pain and bruising, not anything serious or life threatening.

She told me to jab it in quickly, rather than push it in slowly ("Just like that scene in Pulp Fiction") and to practice by stabbing oranges. Then she looked at my needles and told me I might be happier with a BIGGER gauge. T is really thick and obviously my problem would not be with the actual stabbing but with the squeezing the syringe. She offered to get me bigger needles. I declined. (Ack! No! Are you crazy??!) And she gave me some pamphlets on how to do it.

I asked if she could just give me the shot. I was still feeling kind of freaked from the drama the night before and also, since I was a day overdue for my shot and the previous week's had partially leaked away, I was kind of in a weird space. I was really grumpy and weird. My body was thinking, "What the hell? Where's all my hormones? Should I start making some? How am I supposed to regulate mood without hormones?" I was hoping she could just do it and I could return to normal. She was taken aback when I suggested it and went to ask if the head doctor would let her. The head doctor said no, as I didn't get the prescription from their clinic.

I complained saying that I had tried to get it from their clinic, but the doctor I talked to said they didn't do that there. The nurse was even more surprised. "We most certainly DO do that here! What doctor said that? Was it Dr. Z?" It was some white guy, I said. "It was Dr. Z, then." She went to discuss it further with the head doctor. I still didn't get my shot form her, but at least the guy who told me they wouldn't do it and acted kind of freaked by my request those weeks ago, at least he's getting in trouble. The nurse offered to set me up an appointment at the clinic there, so close to my house, so I could get them managing my health again. I said no. I don't have more money to throw at doctors right now. The blood tests alone cost more than $1000. I can't afford to repeat them. When I need a new prescription, if I'm not in England, I'll go there. But otherwise, no.

The more I think about my experience with Dr. Z, the more annoyed I get. He was a dick, but not openly hostile. Still, he refused me treatment because of prejudice. And what's alarming is that I know this will be a constant for the foreseeable future. I was reading recently about a trans guy who died of ovarian cancer. He caught it in time. It was treatable. Doctor after doctor refused to treat him. They thought it would harm their social standing to provide life-saving treatment to a freak. I mean, this is Berkeley, I shouldn't have that problem, right? Meh. Maybe I should get all the female-specific parts of my anatomy removed pre-emptively? There's differing opinions on whether FTMs on hormones are more likely to get ovarian cancer. They're way more likely to die of it, though. Lesbians are also more likely to die of ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, etc. Because doctors can be discriminating assholes. I still have lingering negativity towards the medical profession based on the experiences I had with them as a young dyke. Being FTM is that all over again. Being out as FTM now is a whole lot like it was for me to be out as a dyke 15 years ago.

After the doctor, I went to wrestle with Jean's wifi network. (the network won the match, alas) and then I went home to discover that Cola had coincidentally bought a whole bunch of oranges. I explained my plans to stab them with hypodermic needles. "Well, they are blood oranges." she said.

I held one in my hand, ready to stab. What if I missed and gouged up my hand!? I put it between my knees. Too much danger! I found a narrow-mouthed cup and put it in the top of that. Stab. Stab. This isn't so bad. Then I had an idea and poured some compari into the cup and drew it up into the needle. I stabbed the orange again and injected the compari into it. I turned the organe and repeated the process. but I quit when compari started leaking out all the puncture holes. Ok, I can do this. Also, compari injected blood orange is a tasty treat.

So, finally, at bed time, I prepped everything to get ready to inject and pulled the protective cover off the end of the needle - and promptly slipped and stabbed the tip of my thumb. Ouch! It went in deep, until it hit something hard and stopped. I cursed and bled. Augh!

I re-washed and re-prepped and pulled out another needle. This was #4. I suddenly understood why I had gotten a prescription for 25 needles and was relieved that I had taken a few "extra". I pulled the T into the needle, got the bubbles out and then sat with the needle poised over my leg. "Just jab it. Just like the orange" I instructed myself . . . and then sat there for 20 minutes trying to remember to breathe, but not hyperventilate. Finally, I made the jabbing motion but decided to abort at the last second. Too late! My leg was bleeding. Damn it. About 20 minutes later and a third or fourth re-swabbing of my leg later, I jabbed in the needle. And it was remarkably like stabbing the orange. Sort of a rind and then a softer under-layer. I slowly pushed the plunger down, probably scraping up my leg muscle as my hands shook.

All in all, it worked out for the best. I have a hard time psyching myself up to jab, so the previous two times I had a needle in my leg, I had pushed it in slowly and not far enough and had leaking. But after talking to the nurse and stabbing an orange, I think I should have much less trouble next time. While the emotional barrier to jabbing is high, once it's jabbed, it's much less emotionally intense than pushing in slowly.

There's now a whole collection of used hypodermic needles in the trashcans of my house. (I always put the safety cover back over the needles.) And there's the compari one on my coffee table. I'm pondering whether I should keep it to further fortify fruit Can one purchase duller fruit needles that wouldn't be tempting to a junkie or dangerous to a klutz but still be able to pierce an orange or watermellon and up the alcohol content? Also, how the hell do people come to be IV drug users? My gods.

I woke up this morning feeling much more normal. No more putting off injections to the last second or the next day.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Kind of an intense thing, learning to stab oneself. Glad you are ok, and it is coming along.