Recently, I have convinced myself that I want a few tattoos. I’ve finally figured out what I want, where I want them and now, I’m dead set on getting them. However, I happen to have a HUGE phobia of needles. When I say I have a phobia, I don’t just get nervous and then the nurse pulls out the needle to give me a shot and I’m fine. I have anxiety, a panic attack and I have no control over my reaction.
The first thing that people ask me of my about my fear is: what made this happen? How did you become so afraid of needles? What event happened that made you feel this way? I would first like to state that my fear did not come from ONE event; it’s a result of multiple terrible experiences. They say that events like these make you a stronger person. BS, I am not stronger from these events. Let me tell you my why…
I was once a happy-go-lucky child that lived care and fear free. I had no anxieties, and life was just wonderful. I was five-years-old and my after kindergarten babysitter was watching my two-year-old brother and me. I was so excited to show her my piggy bank – only God knows why – and I went to climb on my wooden chest to grab it on top of my dresser. Most of you know that I am a clutz. I can barely walk without tripping over my own feet. I fall up the stairs, without fail, at least once a week. So what makes anyone, including myself, think that I can pull a graceful move such as running towards a chest and jumping on tjo it without a problem? I am no Olympic gymnast.
Needless to say, I went down, and I went down HARD. I smacked my chin on the corner of the wooden chest and it hurt like nobody’s business. I was bleeding, crying and snotting it up; one of my finer moments. My sitter was having a panic attack, she called my parents, and the first one to get home was my father. I love my father, but if he had it his way, he would have put a Band Aid on the incision and called it a night. He would have found a dead child in the morning from bleeding out and not understood how the Band Aid didn’t stop the bleeding. So, my mother instructed him over the phone to bring me to the hospital to get stitches.
I don’t remember anything about the car ride over, it might have been the pain, that I was five, or that I was losing a bit of blood; all I remember is the next part of this nightmare. I am told that I need stitches and I pitched a B.F. (bitch fit). I start squirming around, swinging my arms, crying and screaming; it was a true Academy Award winning performance. The nurses strap me down as if they’re ready to carry me off to a psych ward (I’m not kidding, they put a leather and Velcro vest around me, pinning my arms to my body in hopes I would relax). At this point, I was furious, and I started trying to roll off the examination table. The nurses basically had to sit on me. The part that I was freaking out about was the idea that some person I did not know was going to be sticking me repeatedly and sewing me up like a torn pair of jeans. They put the blue sheet over my face and I cried the entire time. This was the beginning of me being a crazy person.
Let’s fast-forward to the age of six. Life was peachy, but I was sick often and no one could figure out why a six-year-old couldn’t kick strep throat. After multiple battles with the virus in a one year span, my doctor and mother decided it would be best if I had my tonsils removed.
Getting your tonsils out at six isn’t that big of a deal. They give you laughy gas, you pass out, and you wake up missing two body parts. There is the promise of Jell-O, ice cream and delicious treats while recovering. No big deal. However, it wasn’t the actual surgery that added to my insanity.
For those of you who have never had surgery, the day before the surgery you have to go in and get tested to make sure your body can handle the procedure, and one of those tests involves getting your blood taken. Up to this point in my life, the long six years, I only had the memories of getting the stitches, but I was going to be a “big girl” and man up. Then, this broad stuck me.
When I say she stuck me, I mean she missed the vein. She pulled the needles out and goes “oops, I have to try again sweetie, I’m so sorry.” Okay fine, I can handle that, I’m six, I’ll move on; mom promised me ice cream on the ride home. The second time she stuck me she missed AGAIN. But instead of pulling the needle back out, she starts fishing in my arm. I’m not a pillow, you’re not just pushing around stuffing; I’m a human being, nay, a child! I feel. Did I mention I’m SIX? At this point, I’m looking back and forth between my arm, the nurse and my mother. My eyes start to fill with tears and I’m about to lose it. This blood sucking vampire pulls the needles out for a second time and dives in for a third.
Let me say this, I have always had patience, I’ve always been understanding, I’ve always been rational. But at this tender age, I felt as if I had been physically assaulted for no reason. Would you punch a child in the face and not say anything or tell them why? No, you would not. So why would you keep stabbing a six-year-old? It never made any sense to me. Finally, the angel of death get it on the third time. When she shoved the needle in my arm, I heard a pop; I felt the pop and the vile started to fill with blood. I was not a happy camper! Three tries!! I’m a child without a nursing license and I could have hit on the first try. How did she get paid to do this? After this point, I had become extremely afraid of needles. I now have terrible anxiety going in to the doctors because I know that there is a 50-percent chance I will have to get a shot or get my blood drawn.
Let me tell you about my third experience that scarred me and basically made me never want to see a doctor, let alone a needle again. It was about two months after I had my tonsils removed. I decided I was going to ride my bike for the first time since the surgery. I hit a bump and I started coughing up blood. A LOT OF BLOOD. My mother rushed me to the hospital (I lost at least a pint) and I had to spend the night in the hospital. They decided they were going to give me an I.V. because of the amount of blood I had lost. The experience was terrible.
They pinned me down and put my arm in a weighted brace. They were able to get the needle in the correct way the first time around but it was extremely painful. I got over it overnight when they knocked me out. It was traumatic and I did shed a few tears but I had obviously had worse experiences. When I woke up the next morning, my arm was in excruciating pain. Not only was the area with the needle incision throbbing, my entire arm was stiff. All I wanted to do was move my arm, but the nurses decided to keep it weighed down all night because they were afraid I was going to pull out the I.V. – something that I would never do.
Six-years-old and I had been scarred for life. Six-years-old and I already had enough experiences to cause me to have horrible anxiety. Could my parents have prevented this? NOT AT ALL. I never blamed my parents for this. I blame the witch that went fishing in my arm…I hate you, whoever you are, I really do. I blame the doctor for stitching me up. I blame the nurse who had the brilliant idea to strap my arm down for the night. I blame the nurse that every time I get a shot is in no way gentle and literally stabs me. STABS ME. She knows I am terrified of needles, yet she holds no mercy on me. My fear of needles is written in my chart at the doctor’s office. How could she not know? I think she likes to watch me cry.
At 22-years-old, I can feel my heart pounding out of my chest when I think about needles – no lie; I’m freaking out writing this. When I schedule a doctor’s appointment, I have anxiety up until I have the appointment, and during the appointment until I leave.
A couple of years ago, I had bronchitis four times within a 12-month period. I went to the doctor for the fourth time and the nurse mentioned that they might have to take my blood. I had no control over what happened next. I had a panic attack. I started sobbing, crying, my nose was running, my face turned red, and I’m sure my heart rate doubled within seconds. I know I scared the nurse because she looked at my mom like what did I do? My mom gave her the you’re a fucking idiot look and said “did you have to say that?” Apparently she was the only nurse at the office that didn’t know I was fit for a straight jacket. I have a reputation at the office, and I like to maintain it (even though I have no control over my reputation) and sure enough, I scared her. She tried to tell me that “this happens all the time.” LIAR!! I SAW YOUR FACE AND I SCARED THE DEMON WHO INHABITS YOUR SOUL OUT OF YOU!! When the nurses say that, it makes me feel worse because I know they are lying. I’d rather have a nurse say “wow, I’ve never seen a girl, other than a three-year-old have a cow over a shot.” At least I would laugh thinking about that.
So with all this said, will I go through with the tattoos? God, I hope I can do it. My brother said that I’m “too much of a pussy” to get them done. My mother says that she “doesn’t think I will do it.” And my best friend says “you won’t man up.” Thanks for the support guys; it really means a lot to me. Don’t expect any encouraging words from me anytime soon. We’ll just have to see when I make an appointment if I can “man up” and not be a “pussy”.
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