hit me with your best shot

I intended on starting this blog when nursing school started. That was over a month ago. So far, I have had a quiz, oral exam (known as the return demonstration), and written exam each week. I have cried in front of my instructor once, cried in front of my classmates twice and forgotten the technical name for the largest part of the quadriceps (it’s called the vastus lateralis) in my return demonstration three times. You can give an intramuscular injection there:

When I was on a mission trip in Quito, Ecuador in 1996, I got very ill. My throat nearly closed up, I was feverish and could barely move. After two days, my friend walked me to the on-site clinic  where we were staying. I remember sitting in an uncomfortable chair, drooling because I couldn’t swallow, shivering uncontrollably and wearing the warmest sweater I had even though it was 75 degrees. I explained my symptoms in my best Spanish. The physician took my temperature–it was 104 degrees–checked my throat, smiled and said in Spanish:

“Oooo, Erikita, necesitas un inyección en las nalgas!”

He started laughing. “En las nalgas! In the ass!” He looked at his nurse, who also started laughing.

My friend didn’t understand what he had said. I translated. He laughed. I panicked. Will the needle be clean? Don’t they have pills? Why would I need a shot of penicillin in the ass? What is this? A third-world country?

I bent down, dropped my pants and exposed my nalgas. The shot was painful. Two days later, I had to return to the doctor for another shot in the nalgas. The second shot finally did the trick.

Anyway, they don’t give intramuscular injections in the ass any more. At least not in the United States. That site is called the dorsogluteal region, and they avoid injections in that area because it is too easy to hit the sciatic nerve and cause permanent damage. 

I remembered that term on the return demonstration.


About erika

nurse, certified nurse-midwifery student, public health fan, math & science geek, single malt scotch aficionado, klutz, goofball, scribbler, funny face & lover of all things nerdy.
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3 Responses to hit me with your best shot

  1. Jeri says:

    Maybe that’s why I have trouble with my sciatic nerve. I got a shot of penicillin in the nalgas about 10 years ago. Ouch…..I feel your pain! xoxo

  2. Pingback: why wednesday was like an episode of “chopped”…. | wow…this is awkward.

  3. Pingback: adventures in the emergency room | wow…this is awkward.

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