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My wedding/honeymoon pictures come back today, so this weekend I'll get a proper recap together.

Yesterday, I had another visit with the therapist who's helping me get over this needle fear of mine. We constructed a list of situations involving me and needles and ranked them according to the degree of anxiety and/or terror they cause in me. Some were based on experience (like getting shots and having blood drawn) and some were worst-case scenarios based on the imaginings of my own phobic mind (like donating blood or getting a spinal tap). My next project is to imagine myself in all these situations, with exact details (such as the rubber tubing and cold, wet cotton balls that are naught but portents of doom), to try to freak myself out and then calm myself down using the relaxation and distraction techniques we worked on a couple weeks ago.

My Top Ten Real and Imagined Needle-based Fear-provoking Events:
1. Seeing medical needles in an exam room; seeing the red sharps container on the wall
2. Finger sticks; seeing needles used in procedures on others (the bandage Jim gets after donating blood every few weeks never fails to give me the willies)
3. Getting shots
4. Getting multiple shots on the same day
5. Having blood drawn
6. Multiple attempts at drawing blood when the nurse can't find the vein
7. Having an IV
8. Getting a tetanus shot (because these supposedly hurt for days afterward)
9. Donating my own blood or bone marrow
10. Getting a spinal tap.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure this list is really going to help me because all I can think when I look at it is that the spinal tap really should be #11.

Replies: 14 Confessions

Note to self: You know all those great "When I was a nurse in the ICU" stories you like to tell at parties? Don't. Especially not the ones about bone marrow.

elavil @ 05/31/2002 07:38 AM CST


You can tell the one about the student blowing the drop off the needle, though.

jima @ 05/31/2002 08:08 AM CST


OK, but if she faints, it's all yr fault, MISTER Married Guy.

elavil @ 05/31/2002 08:57 AM CST


I have no problems with needles as long as it's a dental procedure. That is, I have no problem with a dentist sticking a needle into my gums, but a tetanus booster freaks me out. So I haven't had one since Reagan was president. I was relieved the last time I went to the doctor and they couldn't give me the shot due to a nationwide shortage (emergencies only!). That was about a year ago.

drench @ 05/31/2002 10:46 AM CST


My dentist uses abrasion instead of drilling, so no needles! Yay! Needles in my mouth would probably be a big problem.

amyc @ 05/31/2002 10:54 AM CST


What is abrasion in the context of dentistry? I bite and must be heavily sedated (as in to unconsciousness) before anything more invasive than X-rays can be done, so this sounds promising.

elavil @ 05/31/2002 02:19 PM CST


Basically, the good doctor blows sand into the decay to wear it away, so no drilling is necessary. This only works if the decay is at a fairly early stage and is not anywhere near the roots. The procedure is gritty (much rinsing required) but painless.

amyc @ 05/31/2002 02:46 PM CST


Yes, that sounds very appealing, but I think I'd rather bite him.

elavil @ 05/31/2002 05:54 PM CST


I have been working on my fear of dentists this year. I can sooooo sympathise.
Your therapist sounds like he/she has some good advice about using creative imaging. see if you can picture yourself getting a shot and NOT freaking out...thats the ultimate goal right?

sis-in-law @ 06/04/2002 04:49 AM CST


While I regularly undergo painting sessions involving needles and ink, and have had my share of big fat hollow needles perforating my flesh, and am proud of my stoicism when getting shots, I cannot have the tiniest amount of blood drawn without passing out and going into convulsions.
It started when I was 14, little goth queen lying about her age and going to a paid medical study with a friend. The students may have been good research planners, bu they sucked as phlebotomists. Ever since then, I've been trouble. Cold sweats, shaky vision, blackouts and watch my head! Even when horizontal with a butterfly needle in my hand, it's hopeless. I wish all such tests could be done with pee instead of blood - put whatever into me, I can take it, but don't go tapping my life essence...

I'm big into no-anesth. dentistry, too - because I'm very hard to anesthetize. But with drills, not sandblasting (never saw that technique before). It's not a big deal, generally, at least not on anterior teeth. Rooth canal/crown type stuff, well, that's another story.

Jessica @ 06/04/2002 07:22 PM CST


Tetanus shots don't hurt much worse than a flu shot - it's just that it's intramuscular. What really sucks is hep B vaccinations. Ow. Every month, thrice. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Jessica @ 06/04/2002 07:23 PM CST


(I got the hep B vacc. because I managed dental practices for a number of years. Too often DDSs would touch my stuff with bloody gloves. Bleah. I also got to buy stuff for the toy boxes, so it all balanced out in the end.)

Jessica @ 06/04/2002 07:24 PM CST


Im compleatly terrified of needles, infact 3 weeks ago i had to get a tetanus shot. the night before i nearly got sick just thinking about having to get a shot. when i got it, i nearly hyperventalated but i soon enough calmed down and felt ok. well i was riding home on the back of a motorcycle when it happened. i passed out cold. when the driver of the bike (a freind) slowed for a turn, i fell off into an intersection. needless to say, people stoped after seeing someone just roll off a bike. i ended up in ER for a few hours but walked away with only minor scrapes. im incredibly lucky really, considering the accident occure about a half mile after the last building i remember seeing. I totaly sympathise with your fear, i just wish their was more i could do about it.

Angel @ 06/24/2004 09:18 PM CST


Hello, Here's my needle story. I was in a really bad car wreck (flip
and roll.) I was taken to the ER by
paramedices and was told, I was going to have a get a Tentus Shot!!
I HATE NEEDLES , all of a sudden
I was sweating and was not breathig well at all!So here come the nurse needle in tow He tells me
he's "good" at injections... I don't really care. Back off , I'm thinking and I bet I cound run away if I tried. So my arm is cleansed w/ the achohol and he thinks it's going to be easy to stick me ... NOT!! I start to act like a toddler and flip out, one of the other nurses tell me to look
at my banged up legs, and then it happens, I feel A STICK IN MY ARM.
They did it they tricked me. It stung and and I felt the poke, but
it was not bad at all. Thank God.
And it better than getting 'Lock jaw' So please get your tentus shots!

Marie @ 01/08/2005 02:09 AM CST


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