“What can I help you with today?”
The nurse sat across from me, pulling up my medical record on her computer.
“I’m here for my second MMR vaccine, I also was hoping to get my flu shot today,” I responded.
“Great, we can take care of both of those today.” The nurse handed me the vaccine information statements as she ran through the necessary list of questions before administering the vaccine. “We’ll do one in each arm, let’s start with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). This one will go into the fat on the back of your arm.”
“Well you won’t have any trouble finding a good spot then”, I thought to myself. I guess there are some benefits to missing my upper body workouts lately.
I sat sideways in the chair, staring at the closed door. I could feel my heart rate quicken as she cleaned off the area of skin with an alcohol swab. Her cold fingers pinched my arm as I felt the needle penetrate my skin. “Just breathe,” I thought to myself. I felt the sharp pain as she pressed down on the syringe. “It’s almost over,” I repeated to myself. She pulled out the needle and placed a band aid over the site.
One down, one to go.
“I’m going to do the flu shot now. This one goes into the muscle and your arm may become sore. Just take some ibuprofen to help with the pain.”
I switched around in the chair, bracing myself for what was coming next. I couldn’t watch so instead I focused straight ahead. I held my breath as she pushed the needle in. “Okay, just a few more seconds,” the nurse said. She pressed down and I cringed, shutting my eyes until I was sure the needle was removed.
“Are you okay?” the nurse asked. She looked at me concerned. “Sorry, that one can be kind of painful.”
“Yea I’m fine,” I responded as the color returned to my face from holding my breath.
“That’s the last shot. You won’t need any more today. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yea thanks. I actually have type 1 diabetes so you’d think I’d be used to needles by now, but I still hate them. And unfortunately that won’t be my last needle today…”
The nurse gave me a sympathetic smile. I smiled in return and thanked her as I headed out the door.
In one year I figured out that my skin gets punctured by around 1,600 needles. Over the 13 years that I’ve lived with diabetes that’s over 20,000 needles that I’ve dealt with! You’d think that 2 shots at the doctor wouldn’t bother me at all…if only that were true.