It’s all flu shots, all the time. Well, sort of.
Keen nursing student wants to practise giving IM injections. Happy to coach (for a change), I offer “helpful” hints.
“That’s great, you’re very gentle and careful. But this is a needle, it’s gotta go through the skin into the muscle. Jab, like a dart, and then it’s done.”
“Don’t forget to aspirate to make sure you’re not in a vein.”
“A little pressure for the people who bleed.”
She was nice. Didn’t tell me to get bent. She has a sweet, tentative manner that will get more certain, but her brain was certainly all business. She’ll make a good nurse.
When she left, I carried on poking people with the nurses. Chatting about the weather. Offering cookies as consolation for the ouch.
And so, for all my coaching, it happened. Having jabbed this lovely little old lady who had presented with her daughter and granddaughter, I somehow managed to jab myself with her needle.
I was so surprised! So that’s a needlestick.
I sat down with this lady and explained what had happened. I told her there was no risk to her, but I was now exposed to her blood. I asked her if for my peace of mind she would be willing to undergo some blood tests, and I assured her that this was nothing more than standard practise in the event of a needlestick injury.
She was perfectly willing saying “I don’t have none of that AIDS and all, but sure, I’ll take the test.”
I confirmed to her that this was one of the tests, as well as hepatitis B and C.
I have to admit, my internal prejudices come to the fore here, and I feel pretty safe. I am waiting for the results, not taking PEP, and feeling much more sanguine than perhaps I ought.
That said, I think the paperwork and bureaucracy attached to a needlestick are punitive, meant to make you more careful so you NEVER have to fill out ALL THESE FORMS again.