Shot needles. The pharmacist had to have noticed the horrified look on my face when she handed me the bag of syringes. Swallowing a tablet or two is one thing, but I don't think my new doctor said anything about injection when he blithely wrote out the prescription. Is this for real? I actually have to give myself a shot in the stomach every night before bed?
The first night I uncapped the needle, drew out the serum, swabbed myself with alcohol. And sat there. Staring. Staring at the needle, poised millimeters from my skin, for umpteen minutes, perhaps upwards of an hour, waiting...for what? Just the right moment? Is it really going to hurt any less the longer I wait? One thing becomes obvious: I am clearly not at risk for any kind of self-harm. :)
I try to channel my mother, who had to give herself a regular schedule of morphine shots when she was dying of cancer. Still, the needle remains poised. And my skin unpierced.
I try to calculate which angle might be least painful, and at what speed. In which direction should I thrust it in, and from how far away? Like it even matters.
Intellectually I KNOW it's not going to hurt. Or if it does, that little prick will last for what, ten seconds? And yet there is such an enormous difference between 1/4 of an inch outside your skin and 1/4 of an inch inside your skin. Might as well be the Red Sea. Seems impossible to cross.
I start to cry. Just a little. Not because it hurts. Or because I am afraid. But because I can't do it. And I don't know why.
I am such a wimp. In desperation I hand the syringe off to my husband, close my eyes...Done. That was it? That seriously didn't even hurt. Why couldn't I just do that myself?
Well, the next night I did. After only about forty minutes of staring at the needle.
Then the next night I whittled it down to about seven minutes.
And now, I hardly give it a second thought. The whole process is done, painlessly, in under a minute. For some reason, the waiting, the staring, the over-analyzing...only made things worse. Agonizingly so.
Suddenly, Ffwwwccchhhtt! A new pair of synapses connect in my brain. This is feeling like a metaphor for a bigger, broader issue. (No, not my hips.)
What else am I staring at, putting off, anticipating unpleasantness, waiting for just the right moment? Making it all worse by stalling? What about that toilet in the master bedroom, begging, pleading to be scrubbed? (Done.) And that painful call to the credit card company disputing a finance charge? (Done.) Eliminating that smell coming from something that's been left soaking in the sink too long? (Done.) Attacking the pile of clutter on the back patio that's been there since we remodeled, um, a year ago? (Done.) And all relatively painless.
There are more ugly jobs waiting around the corner. Big ones. Scary ones. Ones that might hurt a little. But I have a fresh way of looking at them now.
As if I haven't seen enough Nike ads to know this already...there is value (and even a form of pain relief) in the phrase: Just do it.