Monday, November 03, 2008

Things that make you go EEK

It would appear that I should, indeed, have expected the unexpected. And the unexpected was having to get up early too many times in a row, and freakishly long needles.

There have been three times since I started this egg donation process (despite over-exposure to corny counselor-speak, I refuse to call it a 'journey') where something inside my brain went HOLD ON WAIT WTF WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN EXACTLY UM NO THANXKBAI.

The first was, weirdly, when the IVF specialist was telling me about when I should abstain from sex (no, wait, this isn't the freaky bit), and then she said, "And you know, if you were to get pregnant during this, the kid would be Rob and Claudia's baby's half-sibling... Of course, that will be the case if you have kids one day, anyway."

And I was all, WHOA, DUDE (although actually, just now typing this I was all, "WHO—no, wait, that's a different word—WHAO—now that just looks wrong, um—WHOO—fuckit, let's just go with DUUUUDE"). Because although I had assimilated the idea that I would be genetically related to Claudia and Rob's kid, I hadn't made the really-not-so-far-akshully mental leap to the fact that we were creating partial siblings for my future potential OFFSPRING. Weird.

The second DUUUUUDE moment was when my ginormous parcel of medical freakiness turned up on Friday. It was like Christmas! Only with more injectables.

So really only like Christmas if you're a heroin addict. A heroin addict with unhealthily enabling family members. Who live far enough away that they post you your presents in a box instead of spending Christmas with you. Or maybe they don't like you enough to spend Christmas with you because you're all hyped up on drugs, haven't washed your hair in six months, and are likely to steal their purses when they turn their backs to baste the Christmas turkey.

Let's stop this analogy now and look at a picture instead.

Now, leaving aside that the packet insert for the injection lists the ingredients as "follitropin beta rch, produced by a Chinese hamster [...]" (I kid you not), the thing that really disturbed me was the following:

These are six (SIX) blood draw requests, each stating that they need to happen at 7:30am, on the other side of the city. This is the bit no one told me! Daily injections? Yeah fine, whatever. Various doctors' appointments? Okay. People poking around in your girly parts with something sharp? If we must. But getting up before 7am every day for a week??? NO THANKS. (Don't worry: I'll do it. But I'm not going to like it.)

And the most recent squeaky brain moment (I bet you saw this coming; what can I say? I'm far-sightedness challenged): the injections. Did you read that bit above about, "Yeah yeah, injections are no big deal, whatever"? That was the mindset BEFORE I saw the needle. See, I know the meaning of the word subcutaneous. My cutaneous doesn't go very deep. So I was guessing there'd be a little teensy tiny short stabby needle. I can jab things in. No worries. (Mate.)

Behold! The MOTHERFUCKING OH HOLY SHIT NO LET'S NOT needle. (With finger, for scale).

Now, I bet you're thinking, "Oh, that's not so long. My [splinter/acupunture equipment/dead grandmother] is longer than that!"

But you see, that's what's known as a skewed sense of scale due to the fact that you aren't plunging the freaking thing straight into your stomach. Let me quote from the instruction manual: "insert the entire needle straight into the skin".

Saturday night was the first time I had to do this. For ten minutes I sat there looking at the needle, looking at my stomach, turning hot and cold and hyperventilating and thinking LET'S NOT DO THIS, OKAY? OKAY?

And then I did it.

And it wasn't so bad, except for the bit where you have to leave the needle in for five seconds afterwards and your hand is shaking and you have visions of the sharp bit blithely wandering back and forth through important internal organs and shredding them into pieces. Except not really, because it can't do that. Right? Right?

Or like yesterday when you stick the needle in and then realise you aren't holding the "pen" (nice euphemism guys, but really, it's fooling no one) in a way that lets you reach the button to press to actually make the dose come out. So you have to pull it out, rearrange, and try again.

But tonight was better. In fact, tonight, I injected myself in the middle of this post and you didn't even notice, did you? Hah.

I was kind of randomly wittering on here in the hope that I would spontaneously type something clever that nicely rounded out this post, made it sound like there was some sort of overall point to it, and tied the end cleverly back to the beginning. But I think we've all realised that's not about to happen.

So, um, okay. Bye.


Rebecca said...

Whatever type of rewards actually exist - good karma, brownie points, whatever - you're earning them in gross tonnage amounts. Wow.

Weekend_Viking said...

I'm basically fine with needles, but it was a bit of a surprise to watch Pete the Ditch (who's diabetic) blithely whip out his insulin pen which has a needle about that size, and say, ohh, dessert, I'd better stick some more of this in, and just whack it in right through his shirt, click a few times, and then eat the sugary confection he needed the insulin for.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Doing chemo, I can't be afraid of needles... heck, I have something inplanted to make it all easier... BUT, putting one in myself is another story -- I'm not so sure I could do it for someone else... to save my own life, yea -- but, for another couple --that's karma-worthy!

Bardiac said...

This is brilliant. You capture things just perfectly so that I can imagine what I can only imagine, if that makes sense.

Sorry about the needles!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I have to get needles on a weekly basis (except that they're intradermal, so not too bad), and I pretty much passed out midway through there. Fainted dead away.

ScienceGirl said...

I couldn't do the needle thing. Not myself anyways. Wow! How long do you have to do that for?

Grace Dalley said...

Styley, this is pretty hardcore stuff!
I once had a course of medication I had to inject myself in the tummy with, and man, the first time really made me hyperventilate!

But the nurse who gave me a tutorial was very helpful. She said they were trained to puncture the skin with a jab, but this was unnecessary! The needle is so sharp that it will simply slide in if you hold it gently but firmly against the skin.

But you probably know that already.

Miss M. said...

... I can deal fine with needles, so long as they're in other people. Needles and me? No way. I hated my doctor so much the day she told me I had to get blood tests every three months for the next five years.
So for actually jabbing yourself, I can just say "wow" in a far away voice, and then I need to go sit down in a quiet place.

StyleyGeek said...

Yeah, I'm hoping for karma :) Well, at least along the lines that if I ever need anyone to donate anything for me (blood, eggs, kidneys) someone might step up :)

Seriously though, I don't know that I would do it entirely out of altruistic motives. For example, hanging around on egg donation forums, most of the people there are Americans, doing it anonymously, for money. I wouldn't do that. But I can kind of understand why some people might. But then occasionally you run into a Canadian who is doing it anonymously, for free. And then I REALLY can't imagine why. You never get to know if your donation DID help someone. It's still unpleasant and with quite a few risks. And you get NOTHING out of it, except the hope that someone you don't know benefited.

I'm not that altruistic.

But I do like seeing how happy the possibility of getting pregnant is making Claudia. If it works, I can't wait to see how excited they will be about the baby. It makes me feel like, no matter what else I am screwing up in my life, I am doing something worthwhile.

And I like the idea of getting to pass on my genes no matter whether or not I chose to have my own kids one day. And getting to see what those genes turn out like. And getting to hang out with a kid who might be a little bit like me. Even if my brother has kids one day, for a start, they won't be genetically related to me, but also he lives in a different country, so I'm never going to get to be the doting aunty next door. This way, I get to have a sort of similar experience.

Sciencegirl, I only have to do this for two weeks. So 14 times. And I've done 3 already.

Grace, thanks for the tip. I actually didn't know that the first day, but then I googled around for tips to make it less scary, and I found someone else who said what you did. It's a little less scary not to jab. On the other hand, it's also slower, and with more wobbly hand syndrome.

StyleyGeek said...

I don't mean to suggest that Canadians are nicer people than Americans—it's just that the laws are different, so in Canada, like here, you aren't allowed to get paid compensation for donating eggs (officially, at least).

Jana said...

I like needles, and could happily jab myself with them.

Odd that so many of you are phobic.

StyleyGeek said...

Jana, I think I'm going to choose to read that as "I don't dislike needles". Because if you seriously LIKE needles, you are going in my "odder than I have previously thought" basket.