Filed under: JUNKe life
Like a well-trained grunt in the junkie army, I could almost prepare and shoot a hit with a blindfold on. It’s a rote learning thing, day after day, several times a day. In fact, (averaging roughly 90 minutes per day preparing and doing hits) I’ve devoted just over 23 complete days this past year just shooting up! Amazing, nearly one entire month cooking up and doing injections. That is to say, 1/12th of my present life. I’m repeating this fact in several ways because I am astounding myself with the cumulative total of just how much of my life is occupied with getting the job done.
Yes indeed, I’ve got my fixing routine (“ritual” if you’re a sociologist) down pat.
So how the hell did I miss an entire 70 units from a 100 unit syringe this morning?
Normally, when a miss starts, the area surrounding the needle point immediately swells with a little bump and I stop instantly. Usually no more than a couple units will have gone into the tissues surrounding the vein.
But this morning I didn’t see any swelling. I injected at least half of the syringe before I even sensed something was amiss (aha, bang-on pun). And still, it took awhile more before I stopped pressing down on the plunger.
I withdrew the needle with a sinking feeling – “damn, I’ve messed up my best remaining vein”. That concerned me more than the potential health problem I’d likely caused myself. Instead of taking ten minutes to attend to the miss with a bit of care giving – hot water, hot compress, and massage to break up the concentration of miss that was in the immediately surrounding tissues – I immediately proceeded to cook up another hit and get it into me. The care giving could wait until after I’d taken care of myself.
However, once I did get the hit into me, I proceeded to the bathroom and ran scalding water over the miss, while kneading the area as forcefully as I could stand to try and break up the concentration and spread it out. I had missed into the vein on the top of my right wrist and the whole area was massively swollen. Right across the width of my wrist, and up my forearm about four inches.
Unfortunately we’d just run out of some morphine pills that cook back very liquidy and were now using MS Contin. If I’d missed with the other pills, the swelling would have been minimal. But MS Contins cook up as the gunkiest injectable substance of all the morphine pills. And that’s why it was such a large swelling. On the other hand, despite its substantiveness, the ingredients that make up an MS Contin are all relatively benign, and therefore aren’t really toxis or likely, in and of themselves, to cause an infection. They just cause a painful swelling. One which peaks after a couple days, and then dissipates over the next week or so. Besides swelling, there’s usually quite a lot of inflammation and the area of the miss becomes very hot.
Right now my wrist is quite tender to touch and it is very hot. In the morning, my fingers will likely be swollen and the joints very tight and sore. But I can tell that its a clean miss, and I don’t have to worry about it going bad and necessitating a trip to the hospital for lancing and antibiotics.
How the hell I managed to make such a huge miss is beyond me. I must have been on total auto-pilot, and barely semi-conscious of what I was doing. I suppose I should start taking time to wash the sleep from my eyes, and down a bit more of my morning coffee, before going for the first whack of the day. Because I definitely struck out this morning! And I can’t afford to strike out too often.
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