Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My "Perfect Injection"

“Be sure to call me when you are ready to give it,” my nursing instructor ordered.

It was going to be my first buttock injection and she wanted to be there to insure that I would perform the technique properly.

A year had passed since I had done my first deltoid injection. As I prepped the patient’s upper arm, he had said, “Boy, you are shaking. This your first shot?” I told him, in partial truth, “No, it’s not my first.” After all, I had given an injection before…to an orange. Despite my anxiety and tremulous hand, that injection had gone well enough.

Next, I had performed my first thigh injection. The poor woman was emaciated, she had a severe case of tuberculosis. I felt her thigh before I went in with the needle. The depth of her muscle tissue must have been less than an inch. With the syringe in my right hand, held like a dart, I entered the muscle and instantly felt the needle hit a very hard surface. “You hit my bone!” she exclaimed.

Indeed I had. I felt horrible. Looking back, I resent the nurse who had ordered me to give that particular patient an injection. Even an experienced nurse would have found it challenging, plus she had known it was my first. Another salty ol' nurse, eating her young.

Before I go any farther, I want to let you know am joining

I hope you will join in and tell one of your own when you are done reading
my true story!

Now, it was time for my first buttock injection and I was determined to have it go well. It was important to me that this injection went off without a hitch. Third times a charm. Right?

Having made the call for my nursing instructor to return to the unit, I picked up the cylindrical glass medication vial and read the label. Then, I drew the medication into the 3 milliliter syringe, leaving the needle in place, inside of the drug bottle. My teacher showed up a moment later and did a double check of the vial and syringe.


Walking briskly down the hall, everything was going well. I didn’t trip or anything.


Swinging the heavy wooden door of the semi-private patient room open, we proceeded in, side by side. Two burn patients lay in their beds, wrapped like mummies in white gauze bandages. The man in the far bed near the window was Mr. Johnson. He was moaning and writhing in pain. “Mr. Johnson, this is my nursing instructor,” I said in introduction. “We are here to give you your Demerol, it will help you with your pain,” I continued, “Please roll to your side, I am going to need to give this near your hip.” Rolling to his side, he asked in a pained voice, “This your first time?” I replied, “No, sir. No, it’s not.” My words, again, a partial truth.

The patient's Ventral Gluteal was my muscle of choice. Manipulating my hand, I located the landmarks for this muscle, to the side of the buttocks, towards the hip. Pointing at the exact spot I planned to give the shot, I looked up at my instructor. She nodded in approval.


After prepping the skin with alcohol, it was time to give the injection. My hand trembling, I bent my elbow and pulled the syringe back, toward my shoulder. Then, thrusting my hand forward, I slipped the needle smoothly into the muscle.


Immediately, I pulled the needle back out and looked up at my instructor. On my face was a huge smile. Sweet success. My eyes quickly shifted back to the syringe.

That was when I saw it…the medication was still in the syringe!

My smile dropped and joy turned to panic. At that same moment,seeing the, ehem, problem with my technique, my instructor’s jaw dropped and here eyes bulged in extreme surprise.

Turning the needle away from my instructor, I tried to hand her the syringe. “You do it,” I mouthed silently. In a scolding gesture, she firmly waved her index finger at me. She sternly mouthed in return,“Do it again. Now!”

Only seconds had passed at this point, when the patient started crying out in anger, “She hit my burn, she hit my burn!” In quick rebuttal, my teacher said, “No she did not hit your burn, but that muscle is not going to work for this shot, she is going to need to do it again.”

Quickly, I chose a new site, prepped the skin, and adeptly inserted the needle deep into the tissue below. My thumb depressed the plunger and injected the much needed pain medication, perfectly.

“Sir, you are going to feel better soon,” my instructor told him. “We will be back shortly to check on you.”

Shoulders slumped and head hung in shame, I walked to the door. Dread was filling my mind, anticipating the discipline coming.

My teacher opened the door and we exited to the hall. As soon as the door was closed tightly, she put her hand to her mouth. She was laughing hysterically! “I have never, ever, seen anything like that!” she managed to get out between her belly laughs. “Go take a break. We'll talk when you get back.”

I am sure that she rolled with laughter again at lunch, as she shared the story of my “perfect injection” with her colleagues.
Somehow, I’ll bet she still looks back at that day and laughs, just as I am now!


Rebekah said...

love the story. My first injection I was also very shakey but my instructor was not at all kind. She told me in the hall. "if you cant quit shaking you will never be able to be a nurse."

April said...

What a great story...you had me hanging onto every word! I've thought many times that I'd like to go into nursing, but the whole shot thing scares me too much. I really admire you for what you do!

I may have to share some stories of when I was in training to be a speech-language pathologist.

Rachel said...

Oh my gosh... I'm laughing while wincing.

So glad to know that there are stories behind those experienced nurses!

I'll never forget when we went in for Itty Bit's vaccinations last year and I told them (for the millionth time) that he would NOT be getting a varicella one (related to my hearing loss). She looked at me and said (I KID YOU NOT)... "Oh good, you never know what's in those things anyway"... as she prepped my son for his other shots.

I just looked at her in amazement and growing fear.

Thanks for sharing... had to laugh at how perfect it all sounded!

mrosev14 said...

As a current nursing student I can completely relate. My biggest problem, is that I am on a med that has a side effect of tremors so I always am shaking regardless if I'm nervous or not. I constantly have to explain that to my patients. :)

Anonymous said...

I know everyone has to learn sometime, but I'm glad I wasn't your patient. Hilarous!

Mighty M said...

Ha ha, well you tried! I'm sure you're a pro now!!

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

I am cracking up. It is so hard to even picture you as the student, after seeing you in action.

Love your sidebar, how did you do that?

Shanda said...

I love how your instructor said, "...that muscle is not going to work for the shot..." ;) So glad she didn't completely embarrass you in front of him!

Great story - well told!

Beth E. said...

That is too funny...I hope the instructor wasn't too hard on you!

I love your stories. :o)

Helene said...

That's too funny....sounds like your instructor had a great sense of humor!! I wonder if that patient still remembers you!!

I remember when I had to give myself IM shots in my butt cheeks during my IVF cycles...oh man, SO not fun!

He And Me + 3 said...

OH my gosh. You are gonna be so good at this meme.
That was hysterical. I loved that story, but feel bad for the patient that got stuck twice!

Anonymous said...

I was expecting you to say that she yelled at you when the door closed but she cracked up! I love it!!!

Lori said...

That's a funny story. We all have to learn somehow though, right?. I will never forget my first blood draw. I made the "stick" and froze. Somehow, blood went shooting through the air right at me. Don't know how I managed that. Fortunately the "patient" was a classmate.

Mr. Daddy said...

OK that does it, my phobia has just turned into the perfect fear.......

Aspiemom said...

What a funny story! I'm just glad I wasn't your patient!

I found your blog through Lynnette Kraft's and enjoyed visiting you!

Paige said...

OH that poor patient. You too! I wonder how many times I've been worked on by a rooky. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

poor poor patient but better her than me!
I always love your stories and your writing you need to be putting all of this in a book and publishing it!

Brooke said...

Great "true story"! I really enjoy reading your stories.

Melissa said...

Great story...you are blessed with a wonderful wrting talent! And I think it's wonderful how she handled it! If more people could laugh things off like that!

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Your stories are the best! You are such an awesome nurse, I can't believe you ever had trouble with anything! I'm ready for a baby story.

Lynette said...

LOL. Well, I guess every nurse/doctor has a story like that one.

I used to work with residents and I used to think when I'd listen to them it was like watching an episode of Scrubs..

Karin Katherine said...

as a fertility patient I've given myself more shots than I care to talk about...funny thing is, I don't think I could give anyone else one.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Good post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you seeking your information.

Preety said...