Chances are if you have hemophilia, and can self-infuse, you've had to do it in less than ideal surroundings. For someone like me, who is terrified of needles, infusing anywhere can be a challenge. So here are some tips I have learned over the years infusing on the sides of mountains, in the backs of vans, on a sailboat, and even in a moving car!
1) Infusions are infusions. No matter where you are, you are putting a needle in your vein. Most of us have done this thousands and thousands of times so that's the easy part.
2) Take a step back. Sometimes when we feel rushed it causes us to miss. As you are about to stick yourself just take a deep relaxing breath. That 2 second breath will save you way more time than a miss as I have learned on occasion. I pulled my quad on my 2011 trip up Kilimanjaro and as soon as I got to camp I worked as fast as I could to infuse ... and blew right through my vein. I was so disappointed in myself but as I regrouped and tried it the second time, I took a deep breath and nailed it!
3) Try to have a few options for veins. When infusing in your typical environment, mix it up, especially if you have some extra time. Having a few options will come in handy if you are ever standing on the side of a mountain and need to infuse ;). Before I get any comments from my girlfriend on this ... I will admit that this is still something I am pretty terrible at. I have a favorite vein that I use over and over. It's my comfort spot to get my infusion done. I do, however, use other veins occasionally that I know I can hit, I just need to practice more.
4) Stay hydrated! One of the keys to successful mountaineering is drinking water and this also helps a TON with infusions. When traveling abroad clean water isn't always easy to come by so keep that in mind when traveling. Take advantage of water when you can.
5) Sometimes you just have to go for it. When I had a bleed on a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands I only had one option, infuse on a rocking boat. I had no where else to go so I just sucked it up and went for it. It was exciting and a little terrifying but it worked!
6) Teach someone else. It never hurts to have help infusing and many people are open to the idea. Since I travel hours and even days from civilization this is pretty much a must for me. If something happened where I couldn't infuse, I would need help.
7) Sanitize! Just because you are filthy dirty and smell terrible from being some crazy place doesn't mean you can forget to be clean! Wash as well as possible, use 50 alcohol wipes if necessary get clean. Getting an infection from a helpful infusion should never happen!
Hopefully these tips will help ease some tension about infusing out of your comfort zone and please feel free to share any tips you may have! I'm sure more will pop into my head in the future too! Don't miss what this amazing world has to offer just because of your hemophilia. Own it!