How Did You Learn How To Inject Yourself?

just wondering: bc when i was given my first syringe, i was also given an orange, and i was told that i could get used to the “feeling” of injecting myself by injecting the orange. yeah, right :rofl:

and, i was not allowed out of the hospital until i could successfully inject myself. well, once i was home, and did not have the support of all the nurses standing around to keep me company, i would do a 1-2-3 count, and then stab that needle right in my tushy as fast as i could. and, at the time of my dx, i was emaciated and the needles were sooo long. ouch.
(at least this was at a time when there were those disposable needles like they still have now) (bc i know it could have been a lot worse)

anyway, point being, i was wondering about your experiences with learning how to inject yourself. how you learned, when you learned, how you felt about yourself having to jab your body with this unfamiliar weapon…

all stories eagerly awaited :smiley:


We actually learned on a site simulator in the hospital. It looked like a patch of skin, and we had to show the ability to draw and inject insulin as well as practicing with an expired glucagon kit. Lots of fun.


what i need to admit, is that after a little while, i could inject from the back of a taxi cab, under a dinner table, in the locker room, and, most importantly, as far as unsanitary goes, right through my blue jeans. i didnt bother wiping with alcohol wipes, either.

okay, so now i’ve owned up to it, please include your dirty little secrets!! (we’ve already heard enough about how frequently we change our lancets :rofl:.)


I don’t remember the first time I injected myself. They didn’t give me oranges, teddy bears or other kinds of test dummies to learn how to inject. They probably thought I was too old for that, as younger kids were given oranges. Apart from teaching me how to use the insulin pen, prime and handle the needles properly, I wasn’t taught much AFAIK. Then I guess it must have been a matter of a nurse asking me whether I would like to try to do the injection myself. Apparently I succeeded :joy:


Since I was 5, my mom got to practice on the orange. After 10 days in hospital, it was mom’s turn to switch from orange to me!!
A visiting nurse came to our house each morning to help mom if needed, I think for about a week.

When I was maybe 7, I did gradual transition. First I just pushed in plunger. (Needles back then were huge for skinny 5 yos. ) I closed my eyes and winced, waiting for prick. (Over 50 years ago, but that’s my memory).

When an opportunity came up for visit with grandma, without mom, I was told I could go if I did my own injection ! I think I was 8 at that time. Still doing single injection Lente once/day. It was enough incentive to get me through the inserting part. Don’t remember if I tried on an orange first. I started using the 1-2-3 GO method, pushing the needle in on GO!


Since I was diagnosed only 5 years ago, I learned with insulin pens. CDE had to help me, first time, oy! Now I still have never used actual syringes on myself, but did so for my friend’s D kitty and also do when administering sub-cutaneous fluids to my CKD kitty (chronic kidney disease).

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Yes, I don’t think I was taught anything. Just told to pinch up the skin and inject. I confess, I was terrified the first time, but was relieved to find it didn’t actually hurt! That was Regular insulin for food, and Lente for basal.

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I also first used an orange at the hospital too when I was diagnosed at 8 years old. In addition, I was given a cloth dolly and an orange saline solution to give her injections. She had lots of orange spots all over her. I think she’s still in a box at my parent’s house.

I was also lucky to be diagnosed after the smaller, disposable needles were available. I remember them being longer than the ones I use now, but maybe they just seemed that way? I’m not sure.

The first injection on a human I ever did was on my nurse at the hospital. She had type 1, and she was kind enough to let me give her an injection in her arm when she needed one. She made a big impact on me, and I really appreciate how much she helped me. By the time I left the hospital, I was doing all my own injections. My parents never gave me one after that.

As for the dirty little secrets, I have plenty! I’ve done shots through lots of different kinds of clothes. I’ve never had any infections from shots or sites, so I’m not too worried about it anymore. It’s quite the trick to do a shot in your leg with a pen under the table at a restaurant with no one being the wiser!!!


OMG I remember the orange! I was age 12, I think. I have always done my own injection ls. AND I remember needles and lancets were bigger then. They have gotten so small over the years - you can barely feel them now (provided it’s a NEW needle).

I guess that’s the segway to my list of dirty little secrets. Almost never change a lancet, alcohol wipe stockpile is almost as big as the lancet stockpile, through clothes, through winter coats, in a bathroom do dirty I wouldn’t even wash my hands in it, using a needle I’ve had to bend back semi straight, using a needle so old most of the markings on the outside were worn off, using a vial that has been in my jeans pocket for weeks, using a vial I wasn’t sure how old it was, and once in a dire situation, even using insulin that had turned cloudy in my pocket.

I’ve never had an injection site go bad. Pump infusion sites and CGM sites I’ve had get infected. I am MORE careful with them and typically use an iodide swab. Even with IV injections, I almost always try to use a new vial and a new needle, but it doesn’t always happen. He’ll of my skin is clean, I may not even wipe it before tapping that vein.

Mine was recent enough I remember it pretty vividly. My perinatologist (she was the one who first prescribed insulin for me, during my last pregnancy) knew my husband was a nurse, so she basically said to us, “You know how to do this, right?” Sure! Of course!

That night - started just with basal - and for a couple nights after that, I made my husband do it for me while I cringed. The nights after that, I made him leave the room because for some reason I couldn’t inject in front of him; made me even more nervous. I still, to this day, have to brace myself sometimes before injecting. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn’t, and I never know which it will be, so I have to work myself up to it at times. I do inject in front of my husband now, haha, and he sometimes criticized my (lack of) technique. :laughing: As far as dirty secrets…I do inject through clothing fairly frequently now.

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In 1970, aged 8, I also started with an orange. I think the plan was my parents would do my injections for a while, but I was a pretty independent/stubborn kid so I was injecting myself before I got sent home from hospital. Everyone said jab, but my brain said jabbing would hurt, so for years and years I would put the tip of the needle against my skin and slowly push until it broke through. Which of course hurt! My dad bought me this stainless steel auto-injector thingy but then my brain said the force of the injection would hurt, so I went back to my old way. Years later, when I finally started (painlessly) jabbing, it was a revelation.

I’ve noticed that when injecting through a shirt in a restaurant, there’s a direct correlation between the lightness of the shirt and the profusion of bleeding. Whenever I take a shirt into my dry-cleaner, he immediately points to the waist area and says, “Blood. Blood. Blood.”


i do finger sticks bedside during the night to test for lows (and highs). i always dribble that little bit of extra blood onto my sheet.( and we only have white sheets). God only knows what my cleaning lady must think of it (and me, for that matter) as my husbands side of the bed is always still white and clean of any spots… LOL.

i also forgot to mention that when i am changing into my swimsuit at the pool, there is the tell tale signs of my pump infusion site and the little sticky thing that holds it in place. not only that, but when i get out of the pool, i have to hook up again and give myself a bolus. sometimes a child (they’re so brazen) will ask me what i am doing and what it is, but i see how the adults try and look away :laughing:

every now and then i will see another swimmer at the pool all hooked up with their POD and Dexcom (and now me with my new FS Libre sensor.)


When I started at age 10 or so, I used an InjectEase device for a long time, which does the injecting part for you, then you push the plunger. Takes the psychologically difficult part out of it, and also does it very quickly. I think I mostly used that until I switched to pens, though I got to a point where I wasn’t dependent on it.


I used the plastic auto-jector, which helped me reach additional sites, and doing 3-4 injections per day. Initially I just did one injection Lente, always in legs.


just bc i am curious, when i started with injections, there was only beef or pork Regular insulin, and i injected 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before meals. then there was Lente and NPH, and i injected Lente once a day and NPH once a day, and i learned how to mix insulins into one syringe (allowing me to avoid having to take 2 shots instead of just the one). so i was injecting myself (if my memory serves me correctly, and its entirely possible that it is not) 3 times a day. morning before bfast (both Lente/ and R together), lunch (just R) and then dinnertime (both NPH and R together). Then Humolog came out, and i was instructed to inject it only when my food was right in front of me, as this was called the fast acting insulin.(i was never instructed to do a pre-bolus; in fact, i had never even heard the term).i was told that i could inject the Humolog at intervals of 2 hours post my last meal. (if i wanted to). for me, this was the routine until i went onto the pump. is this similar to how MDI works these days? i am assuming that it has progressed since i was on them.

i would love to hear from you!!! :blush:


Did you use just Regular at first?

I started with Lente only for first 20 years.

Then stopped Lente, and started NPH and Reg, and taught to use exchange plan diet, for about 10 years.

Next I switched to pump, with Reg, maybe 5 years before the Humalog/ novolog dance with insurance, which I’m still doing. (25 years pumping).

I have levemir and lantus as emergency backup, and used it once last year when pump failed on vacation.

I think I used beef/pork until I was on pump.


yup. i only used the R for quite some years. i didnt know enough about what my choices were.

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How often did you dose? Did it cover 24 hours or did you just need mealtime?

Maybe you were LADA ?

Hmm, I started with both Regular for bolus/food and Lente for basal, if memory serves. I didn’t know about bolus and basal til fairly recently, I’m ashamed to say, til I I started researching about pumps and cgms on the internet and discovered tuD, and FUD :slight_smile:


I think they were started to be used when pumps got more popular. Only one insulin in pump, but it served as both basal and bolus. Then carried over those terms to the other insulins.

(I recall hearing names like meal-time insulin vs longterm or background insulin in the early days. NPH for me was both, since it covered my lunch, but used Reg for morning and dinner meals.)