My fear of needles is making me pungent and gooey. I have a long standing history of trypanophobia- I even have a scar from it. When I was five, I was involved in a horrible playground accident that left both my mother and I covered in blood. While crawling across a set of monkey bars my elbows buckled and my teeth went through my lower lip. Then my face bled like I was dying in the way that facial wounds do. Unless of course you’ve cut a dead person in which case your biggest problem is your choice of hobbies rather than the amount of blood coming from the wound. I digress. So my mother rushed me to our family doctor who declared that I would need two stitches or it would scar.
At that point in my life the only way I would endure a needle was to have my mother lay across my legs and pin my arms to my sides to prevent the kindly medical professional from battling my five year old self mixed martial arts style while administering a vaccination.
“I don’t think I can hold her down for that long.” My mother replied. Hence it was decided that my mother liked our doctor too much to have her attempt to sew my face back together. So my mother and I went home. I have the scar to prove it.
My mother then started working out and developed biceps the size of my head so that the next time either my sister or I fell off playground equipment she could pin both me and Chuck Norris down to receive stitches. My Mom’s very committed to being a good parent. Or at least that’s what I tell people when they ask why my mother is lifting the neighbour’s sedan by herself.
Back to the malodorous, sticky present. Last week I had my yearly physical and because my doctor is colluding with the devil, I was sent to get blood work done. This is the only possible conclusion one can come to after being sent for bloodwork, it is never that one has an excellent GP who is concerned about anemia and blood iron levels.
This would have been fine had my doctor not recently moved offices. Previously when sent for blood work, I would have both time and space to prepare myself appropriately. First I would purchase an orange juice to ensure that I wouldn’t become “The Floor Unwashed”. Next I would drink the juice in the elevator while doing muscle poses in the mirror to pretend that I was brave and look for resemblances to my mother. For whatever reason no passengers ever joined me in this exercise, even though oftentimes they were also headed to the lab.
Lastly I would wait awkwardly outside the lab door for a small child to go in ahead of me. This was the most important step of all. No matter how terrified I was of needles, it was vital for me not to be out-couraged by a child. A favourite diversionary activity of mine is to make up words while being stabbed by total strangers. While watching a three year old next to me stoically receive their MMR vaccine I would then pretend to be equally brave while a phlebotomist took vial after vial of my blood.
That was before the medical practice moved buildings. “The lab is just across the waiting room now!” my doctor cheerfully exclaimed while steering me out the door of her office and handing off lab request forms. As she waved to my back I trudged across the waiting area and into a tiny room.
“Where do I take a number?” I asked the woman there.
“No numbers or waiting, you just sit right down.” She patted the seat next to her. On the other side of the lab tech’s chair were a series of packaged, pointy instruments and vials.
“But. Um. I?” There was no time for juice, I hadn’t even gotten a cursory bicep curl in. And worst of all, there wasn’t another soul around as she closed the door to the room, let alone a small person who I ought to be a good model for.
It was terrifying. It was painful. I may have almost passed out. Twice. But the phlebotomist kept going.
And now I have a band-aid on my crook of my elbow that I can’t take off. Having watched the woman enthusiastically descend upon my arm I can’t help but think that if I remove the bandage, the phlebotomist will somehow know my arm is free for poking again and appear on my doorstep sharps in hand.
To avoid this problem of freeing up the desired fleshy real estate I have worn long sleeved shirts all week. However three days ago the band aid looked like it was close to falling off, having lost all of its glue, which was smeared around my elbow in a grey sticky mess. In order not to agitate it further I decided not to change shirts again. However after the heat of three September afternoons, I must admit I’m becoming a little ripe. It’s not my fault though- blasted trypanophobia.
I really should start eating more red meat. I don’t think I can do this again next year.