Way back in February, when we started on our JRA adventure and the drug cocktail that comes with it, the doctors and nurses were all very reassuring.
"Giving the shots is hard in the beginning, but it gets easier over time."
"Just wait a few months and it will be routine."
All the promises of easier and better have not come true. Even as my own skill at injections has improved, it has gotten harder and harder to take.
The smell of the numbing cream makes both #4 and me nauseous. The moment I touch her on shot night she begins to whimper. She knows by now that it is going to hurt, that the methotrexate is going to burn, that she is going have bruises from each shot which last for weeks, and that tomorrow morning she is going to feel like puking well into the afternoon. I can no longer comfort her with platitudes of "it's just a pinch" or "the medicine will make it not hurt." We both know the truth of it, and there are no more lies I can tell either of us to make it palatable.
The truth is that one night a week I have to hurt my baby for her own good.
It's a contradiction that strikes at the very heart of my vocation. It is my job to keep her safe and free from harm to the very best of my ability, which is what makes her weekly shots anathema to both of us.
I have told myself the tale that I am doing this to keep her healthy and that this is the reason she is doing so well today. It feels like a lie, no matter how true it may be. I draw up that lemon yellow liquid every Sunday evening in the full knowledge that she will scream or groan as she claws at her leg when it goes in. These weekly injections have sent her to her father's arms for comfort as I have become the source of pain. I am no longer the solace she seeks, I am the misery she turns away from, burying her tear-streaked face against his neck.
I don't know how they could have said it nine months ago in a way I would have understood...the depression, the guilt, the anger at this disease...the desire to just stop hurting her...
They lied to me nine months ago when they told me I'd get used to this...this will never be routine...it will always be hurting her and it will always feel wrong.