Someone asked me exactly how to do a methotrexate injection, so advance warning - THIS POST CONTAINS PICCIES OF NEEDLES.
Run for the hills if (like my daughter) you are likely to keel over!
Right - firstly this stuff is DANGEROUS. Google it and there will be loads of scary stuff, the best I read in the paperwork from the hospital was 'side effects may include death.' Wahaaaayyyy!
It is supposed to be used only where the flooring is washable - if it spills on a carpet the whole lot has to come up and be incinerated. As I don't have any washable flooring, only carpets, I use a black bin bag spread out beneath me. The injection goes in my thigh (alternate leg each week), so thank goodness I have chunky thighs! Left leg is a nuisance as it's definitely harder to do.
Right. So - spillage bag at the ready just in case.
Tray, sharps box, special 'designated' scissors not to be used for anything else, needle tip, cotton wool, plaster and the methotrexate itself. This comes in sealed dark plastic packets, one syringe per packet and are stored in a plastic locked box.
Firstly, check the name, dosage etc on the outer label. That's deffo me. Cut this open, inside is another sealed plastic packet but see through, cut this and pop the syringe inside onto the tray.
Check the label on the syringe for expiry date, dosage etc and check the colour. It's a slightly unfortunate shade of yellow and should be clear.
All the plastic packaging, paper from the plaster etc goes straight into the sharps bin. Then the needle tip - this just needs unsealing from the wrapper at the moment.
The blue bit on the syringe is the lid - this is brilliantly shaped for sore or weak fingers and unscrews MUCH more easily than the ones I had to do at the hospital.
From this point on you are committed to doing the injection - no putting the syringe down or there's a huge risk of spillage.
With the 'open' end of the syringe pointing upwards, the needle tip just screws into the top (twists maybe is a better description, one twist tends to be wnough to tighten it securely).
Now the syringe is secure again and can be tipped upside down - this is by far the easiest way to undo the lid on the needle.
This also twists off.
And now it's JABBYJAB TIME!
OK, now you need to grab your thigh - I have chunky thighs and this is still easier said than done! I tend to nip a bit of flesh with my left fingers and balance the needle tip where it's going in with my right hand (I am right handed).
The needle is longer than I expected but getting it in is surprisingly NOT the most painful bit - mentally getting ALL the needle in is icky. As the needle goes in you let go of the flesh so you can use both hands - I tend to need one hand to steady the syringe and one to depress the plunger. I am on the maximum dose and can definitely feel the difference in the amount going in from when I started on a much smaller dosage.
It's a good job I am single as I have started singing - yes, SINGING, out loud as I stick the needle in. Distraction technique. Or insanity.
The part I usually mess up is taking the damned thing out, I sometimes nick the skin on the way out. Sometimes it bleeds a tiny bit, sometimes the smallest droplet of meths comes out, hence a plaster (don't want that stuff on my clothes).
Scuse my thigh.
Seriously, do excuse my thigh!
See that tiny droplet? That's the meths.
Plaster on, tidy it all away, wash handies - all done for another week.
This stuff makes me feel pretty dreadful as I know it does for others. Not as sick as I was with the tablets, but by hell it isn't fun. This is to be expected I suppose as it is a drug used (in stronger doses) in chemotherapy. It is supposed to slow my immune system turning in on itself long term and doing further damage to my joints, but as it isn't working so far the hospital are possibly going to add in another injection soon. So more piccies to look forward to!
Sorry for this post - it's actually done me a bit of good mentally to post it all. I hope it is useful to anyone else in this position as I had very little idea of what to expect when I started and was really nervous.
Does it hurt? Not so much the actual injection but it stings like hell for about 2 minutes afterwards.
Ok, I promise some knitty pics soon. And squirrel pics. Better? Happy weekend all x