Do you know what is amazing? I used to NOT be afraid of doctors and needles. Anyone who knows me probably just let out a unified gasp like they’d just seen a shaved easter bunny zip naked down the street on roller-skates because I am absolutely the biggest needle wuss EVER. I am horribly immensely terrified of those things to that point that if I find out I need to have a blood test in two months, every day prior I will obsess, my heart will palpitate and my butt will whistle dixie because of the IBS that will settle in from all the anxiety. I am that scared and I can’t control my fear of them!
It’s hard to pin point the exact moment when this phobia was born but part of me thinks it was the seventh grade when I had to get a tetanus shot in school. They informed us in gym class about the upcoming shots and my only reaction was excitement about a break in routine. I was fine waiting in line in the nurse’s office, I even stood there all bored waiting for her to stab me with the needle. No big deal, right? Well.. immediately after the stab I felt like someone punched me in the arm with a pair of brass knuckles. I remember giving the nurse a WTF look, saying “ow ow OW OWWW!!” I had no idea that it would hurt so bad!! Then back to gym class they wanted me to do push-ups. Uh.. no way. I tried one and fell over. My arm was useless.
That must have contributed because thereafter I was not the same. The palpations began the deep anxiety, the compromise to my health because I won’t go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. I hadn’t had a tetanus shot since then, either. Just the thought made me squeamish.
Which brings me to this summer, nearly 23 years later when I was working in my garden. I had just laid out some fresh soil, organic manure, and stabbed myself with a pair of rusty garden scissors. I think my subconscious knew before it registered outwardly that I would have to go in and get a shot ASAP because I didn’t feel the pain of my bleeding thumb, I felt the dread from deep inside, instead.
So there I sat, an eternity in the waiting room. I could hear the minute hand of the clock ticking loudly mirroring my pulse. When I was called in, I made them let me lay down. Around me, I had water, juice, a hand fan, wet rag, and worry stone. There was food hidden in my purse but I didn’t want the nurse to think I was even more crazy, he was already smiling at me in disbelief.
Within oh..about 3 seconds the shot was in and out. I didn’t feel much of anything but laid there like a slug in case of any green after affects. I felt so stupid!! Until I got a 103 degree fever for two days and the bones in my arm felt like they were being chiseled away with a tooth pick.
The pain eventually disappeared, the needle hole healed, but I’m afraid my senseless worry never will. I’ll try harder next time though… to not stab myself with rusty scissors.