Missing The Vein

     Missing (short for "missing the vein") is what happens when a person shooting up isn't in a vein when they inject their shot.  The the fluid that was intended for the vein ends up pooling underneath the skin or in the muscle tissue.  
    Missing is usually an accident and not intentional.  (Sometimes people with too many collapsed veins will intentionally inject their shot directly into their skin or muscle, but that is called "skin popping" or "muscling")

You'll definitely know if you've missed or are missing a shot because there will be a painful, burning sensation at the site where you're injecting.  Fortunately it doesn't last too long - the worst of the burning is usually over within a minute or two.  How bad it burns often depends on how much you missed ant where you missed.
   Almost immediately after you miss a lump will form.   Don't be alarmed if the bump swells up a lot larger than it seems like it should.  That's just your body triggering an inflammatory response.  I'm not super-clear on the "specifics," but as I understand it, abnormal swelling at the injection site is just your body's way of reacting to a foreign substance suddenly invading its tissues.  That's the reason why you'll sometimes end up with a bump that seems much bigger than your shot actually was.
However -  A lump that forms right after you miss a shot is normal.  A painful lump that begins to form a day or two (or more) later is NOT normal and could potentially be an abscess.

What to do when you miss:
     Ok so the most important thing you can do if you miss the vein when you're shooting up is to apply heat to the site as soon as possible.  Heat will actually help your body to absorb the shot quicker.  And you want that shot to be absorbed as quickly as possible so that the liquid you injected isn't just sitting in your tissues, which can get infected and cause an abscess.  And although your first instinct may be to apply ice to minimize the swelling - applying heat is actually the best thing you can do.  And applying heat will help the swelling go down as the body absorbs the liquid that you injected.

If you don't have a heating pad you can make one with a washcloth and a plastic bag.  Just get a dishtowel or washcloth wet with really hot water, stick it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or a minute or so.  Then stick it inside a ziploc bag or plastic grocery bag.  Wrap it up so that the air can't get to it.  It will usually stay pretty hot for a good 15 to 20 minutes or so.  Then just apply it to the area where you missed.  Do that 2 or 3 times the first day so that you'll be less likely to develop an abscess.


Below are a couple pics of my arm after partially missing a shot I was doing - clicking on either pic will take you to my meth photo archive (also a new work in progress)

My Arm After Partially Missing A Shot

New Lump Next To An Old Abscess Scar