I really dislike having blood work done because, in order to do blood work, they must first draw blood. With a needle. In your underarm. Frankly, it gives me the creeps.
I don't believe that the core issue for me is needles though. I can handle needles in my upper arm just fine. I did allergy shots twice a week for three years. Yeah, it was uncomfortable and my arm was sore most of the time, but I didn't turn into an anxious, freak-out mess before each one. Anxious, freak-out mess is what happens before drawing blood or putting in an IV. Those needles have to stay in your skin longer and THAT freaks me out. Those needles are also stuck in your tender underarm and THAT FREAKS ME OUT even more. I do not like my arms pulled away from my body and I feel naked, exposed, and extremely vulnerable when my underarms are turned towards the sky by someone other than me. Every experience I've had with blood work and IVs has been traumatizing and very painful. EVERY ONE. So when my new doctor asked for blood work on day 22, I was a little less then ecstatic.
Thankfully they called me right back when we arrived. The less time I had to sit and devise how I was going to snatch the needle and turn it on the evil nurse, the better. After sitting down in the devil's chair, I turned my head to the left as the nurse had her way with my right arm. Looking at anything she was doing would have launched my anxiety into overdrive. She tied off my arm (a little too tight I might add), kneaded the inside of my elbow with her fingertips, and had me make a fist. After fiddling around for a minute I felt the cold, alcohol-soaked swab on my arm. I waited for needle to puncture my skin and the pain it would bring. Please just get it right the first time. I did not want to be poked more then once. There was a quick pinch of pain and then . . . . . nothing. Just great. She didn't hit a vein and now she's gonna have to do it again. Still nothing, but I didn't dare look.
"Well, we didn't make you wait, but there's no blood. I've got it in the vein and everything."
What? The needle is still in my arm?! NO WAY! Reacting to her words, I turned to look. Sure enough, there was the needle lodged securely in my vein. But I can't feel it! I was so surprised to find it stuck in my arm (because I wasn't in agony) that it took me a moment to register what the nurse had said. There's no blood? Huh? The little tube hanging from the needle remained a pale yellow. That's weird. The needle had been in my arm for a good 15 seconds.
"Did you bake in the car on your way here?"
"It was an hour and a half drive and I haven't had a lot to drink today."
"Yeah you're dehydrated and your veins are shriveled up."
Finally pale yellow turned to crimson. Blood flowed for a couple of seconds then she pulled out the needle and taped some gauze to my arm. After verifying my birth date she sent me on my way.
Gary opened my car door and asked, "How'd it go?"
"Um it went really well actually. It barely hurt! Compared to previous episodes it was great." Oh yeah, and by the way, I was immortal for 15 seconds.