Thursday, 22 March 2012

My Last Injection... For Now

On Tuesday morning at 10.15 I had my latest lanreotide injection, and as the initial decision was that I would have them for three months and then review, I'm now waiting to hear back from my endocrinologist as to whether he wants me to continue with the injections. The answer to that will almost certainly be yes, unless the next MRI scan shows that my pituitary tumour has fallen out of my nose at some point in the last two months;* the real question is whether the dosage needs to be increased, and if they're thinking about sending me in for more surgery.

Actually getting the injection was fun, because it was administered by my favourite nurse. I know it's wrong to have favourites, but I was almost heartbroken last month when both she and her lovely Australian colleague were away at injection time and I had to book in with The Rubbish Nurse. She's not a bad nurse, I should clarify, she's very competent, but she hasn't got the hang of Making Injections Fun yet. This is a valuable skill and, in case there are any nurses out there, it goes like this:

The Idiot's Guide To Making Injections Fun:

1. Recognise the patient. If you don't recognise the patient, you can just pretend. This is an acceptable fiction and they will almost certainly pretend back.
Pro tip: Once you are practised at this deception, or if you are interested in a career in acting, consider taking this a step further and invent a complete backstory to your relationship with each patient. Imagining that you are administering an injection to the wife of the man with whom you had a torrid affair in pre-independence Kiribati will add spice to an otherwise dull day.

2. Greet the patient. Do not disappear down the corridor so quickly that they can't work out which dread medical portal you emerged from.
Pro tip: Alternatively, if you really can't bear to wait for your patients to pick up their coats before exiting the waiting room, why not turn this into a game of Hide and Seek (Nurse Edition)? There's nothing like the sight of confused patients blundering into the wrong consulting room to raise a belly laugh in the morning.

3. Put The Patient At Ease. When unwrapping the syringe of lanreotide, remember to refrain from comments such as "Bloody hell, that's a big needle!"
Pro tip: Consider tapping in to your patients' latent competitive natures by introducing a leaderboard of Bravest Patient of the Week. That way, they'll be practically queuing up to be spiked by giant needles, instead of fleeing you in terror.

4. Be Awesome. This guideline may be difficult for new practitioners to grasp immediately. Examples of Being Awesome include (but are not limited to): telling patients interesting medical facts (this week I learned about the sciatic nerve), having an awesome accent, telling amusing family anecdotes, laughing frequently, and adopting unusual pet names for each patient.
Pro tip: Like the finest cuisine, the best pet names are based around animals and vegetables. Everyone's been called "duck" or "pumpkin" - why not mix it up? Try referring to patients as "prarie dog" or "aubergine".


In other news, I had a bit of minor drama trying to get hold of my beloved Somatuline Autogel injection this month; when I got the prescription, I headed straight to Boots Pharmacy as usual, who always have to order it in directly from their supplier because it's a pretty unusual item. I happily skipped to the counter, only to be informed that their supplier didn't have any in stock, and they couldn't say when they might have it, so I should go elsewhere.

Somewhat surprised, I decided to transfer my business to the Superdrug pharmacy. "I'll have to check with our supplier," said the young man behind the counter. He immediately phoned them, while standing in front of me. Apparently everything was fine and they'd have it in the next day. Impressed by this speedy service, I skipped off on my merry way.** Of course, next day I got a phone call from them saying that their supplier didn't have any and they couldn't say when it would next be in stock. Heaven only knows who the bloke behind the counter had actually phoned while I was watching; perhaps he's the chap keeping the Speakng Clock in business.

So I picked up my prescription and, feeling a little panicked, decided to try Boots again before walking miles to another pharmacy. And lo! the bloke behind the counter looked at my script and quoth: "Oh yes, we've got that for you." I assumed he was confused - perhaps a relation of the guy in Superdrug. But no! Boots had lovingly ordered in my medication even though they had encouraged me to look elsewhere, just on the offchance I would return for it. So that was nice.

*Just to clarify for any non-medically-qualified readers: this is unlikely.

**I was doing a lot of skipping that day.


  1. I believe that it is BT engineers testing new phone lines who keep the Speaking CLock in business, if our recent experience at the office is anything to go by. But I have been misled by suppliers as well before.
    Hooray for Boots! Hooray for lovely nurses!

    1. Aha, it's good to know that they have two steady revenue streams :D Sneaky suppliers! They like to keep customers on their toes I guess..