Tuesday, October 3

Under the skin

Since Carlo has been out of hospital he has been put on some sort of medication. Apparantly to stop his blood from coagulating, while he sits around waiting for the bones to mend. Now, I am pretty sure that anywhere else in the world, this medicine would be given in pill form. ( I am actually secretly convinced that an aspirin a day would do the job fine.) But no here, no, in Italy the preferred way to administer medicines is in injection form. And guess who has to give these injections?

Of course, being just a silly uneducated English lady (as was recently pointed out so kindly, in the comments section) I have never been taught how to inject someone. So while visiting Carlo in hospital I followed the nurse around for a bit to watch how she did it. She explained about squirting a bit of medicine out to ensure there were no air bubbles, she showed me which part of the patients backside the needle should pierce, and she showed me how to slowly pull back the syringe, before injecting to make sure I had not hit a vein. But I couldn't practise on anyone.

So, now we are at home, I have been left to puncture Carlo every day for a month. So far, the results have been different every day. Lets just say that I am not a natural, er, injector.

It turns out that these ready filled syringes have to be injected under the skin, in the upper arm, not in the muscle like I was shown in hospital. The first day I went in too deep. A rock solid lump formed, bruising all round. It has not gone away yet. The second day, I somehow managed fine. It worked and left no mark. But the next day I didn't inject far enough under the skin, and as I pushed down on the syringe, the liquid bubbled up like a blister under about 2 layers of skin. When I pulled the needle out the medicine squirted back out the hole it had left. Every now and then I get it right, but more often that not poor Carlo is left with a leaking blister or a bruised lump.

What I am left wondering is this: Are injections part of the Italian school curriculum? Or are Italian women just born knowing how to inject a syringe into someone? When you are taught how to do this, what do you practise on? Friends? Enemies? Ex's? It's a bit like when I had to learn how to pierce ears, it's difficult finding someone to practise on because either they have already had their ears pierced or they never want to. I, of course, had Carlo handy at the time, and no, he didn't keep his earrings in!

15 comments:

  1. First, I could tell it was your dad, you look a lot like him!
    Secondly...who gave you the idea that Italian women are taught how to inject a syringe...I am not able to inspite of the fact that I went to school, in fact I H.A.T.E. any kind of needle, can barely stand a cross stitch needle, which has NO point.
    Anyway, good for you. You are always there for Carlo. See, I would have called a nurse, but you, no. You rolled your sleeves and are giving Carlo a needle a day. To help. I admire you.

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  2. I had this same problem two years ago when I was dog sick.....except my mother in law had to administer the shots (luckily we were there already) as she was really experienced and my hus was not into that. And not in the arm. The butt. That was fun. I feel closer to her now. I don't envy you, but it sounds like you are doing great!

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  3. Ha, ha your story made me laugh (sorry). In our household my father-in-law is in charge of injections. My (Italian) husband cannot understand why I might not want his father injecting my behind. Last time I ended up doing it myself - not an easy feat. BTW you can sometimes find someone in pharmacies who does this for a small fee or (as my doctor) suggested find a nurse who just happens to be one of your close neighbours (!)

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  4. I'm an American living in southern Italy, and I just wanted to say that I completely agree that Italians have an unnatural obsession with injections. The fact that you can buy syringes in bulk in grocery stores is just beyond weird to me. Best of luck with your sticking, and get well soon Carlo! Love your blog, btw ;)

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  5. Oh my God...I look like my Dad? But he has sticky up white hair and lots of wrinkles....

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  6. My God poor Carlo,I can imagine him with all the puncture marks over his body.He must be very brave, if it was my husband he would have fainted at the sight of the needle! An absolute nightmare when it comes to blood tests and anything that resembles a needle.

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  7. I'm kinda going through the same thing except I am the one on the receiving end of the needle and my husband is the one poking me. Lucky for me he has experience and is a trained medical professional, HOWEVER, it had been years since he injected anything and I had to be the guinea pig. That one injection left a bruise but so far so good after that. I know how Carlo must feel though. According to my hubby yes, he should be able to take an aspirin and leave it at that but medicine administered through an injection just hits the blood stream a lot faster. So although it seems archaeic, it is the more effecient option. I empathize with Carlo and I can't wait until the injections are over and done with for both of us!

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  8. Every day bring us new kind of experience. I don’t think that Carlo is very happy with this one for the moment, but the most important part is that he is OK and he still loves you after all this “torture” :)

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  9. If you're trying to inject it under the skin but not into the muscle, try pinching up a small piece of skin (can be tricky) to get it away from the muscle and inject it into that. I had to do this to my cat twice a day for two years - you'll get used to it. Of course with him his skin was a bit looser than a humans so that made it easier. At least with Carlo he knows what you're doing and why :D

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  10. Ouch!!!

    BTW, this is Kali...somehow I changed my name on here to one of my other nicknames - oops!

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  11. In nursing school they practice by injecting oranges or soft rubber balls. Perhaps you should try that - but then again, it sounds like you've already had quite a lot of practice on Carlo! *lol*

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  12. thats really funny-- i realize not to you guys... seriously your grandma didnt teach you syringe techniques!?? where R u from lady? mammamia

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  13. When I was in Sicily I got sick and my Zia had to give me an injection. She's the person that most people in her street go to when they need one.

    Personally it would make me sick to have to inject others or myself. Good on you for coping well

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  14. I agree with Annika...

    When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they learn to self-inject by practicing on oranges.

    Regarding your predicament...
    I've heard of some cool things in my life, but...that was AWESOME!!!

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  15. Hi, I'm a total stranger living in America (but I have a sister living in Italy, if that helps) and I found this entry when I was sent home with syringes to self-inject blood thinners and needed to figure it out quick. Yes, in America. I was able to get instructions on the very medicine I am taking and that helped:

    http://www.druglib.com/druginfo/lovenox/indications/

    It still sucks. I hope things get easier and I hope Carlo heals!

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