When I was two years old my parents took me in for my regular check-up. I was a good little girl, and all of my previous appointments had gone well. This one started out the same. I was sweet, behaved for the doctor, and was brave when it came time to get my shots. They put the needle in and I didn’t cry a bit. Then, a few seconds later and with no drama to speak of, I passed out.
From that moment for the next fifteen years or so I passed out every. single. time I did anything involving a needle. Every time I had to get shots, when I had to get blood work done, when I had to get IVs, even when I got my ears pierced.
It became such a problem that I started avoiding needles if at all possible. I got cavities drilled and filled with no pain medicine because I would rather endure the pain than get the shot. When I was pregnant with Adeline, I decided on a natural birth. There were many, many reasons for that, but I’d be lying if I said that avoiding needles wasn’t one of those reasons.
When I was in high school, my school hosted a blood drive. I decided that it was time for me to get my act together. I decided I would donate. When they pricked my finger to test my iron levels, I passed out. No donation for me.
But then things started to get a little better. In college, I got bitten by a stray dog and I had to go in for rabies shots. Five shots in one day, five different times. The first day I passed out. After that, I was good. In the ten years since then I’ve managed to get flu shots and travel vaccinations without passing out. When I was pregnant I had to have several vials of blood drawn for blood work and I got through it. Maybe my days of passing out are over, I realized.
Despite all that, though, needles still terrify me. When I made my 30 Before 30 list I included the entry, “Do something that terrifies me”. At the time, I didn’t know what that would be. A few months ago I realized: I needed to donate blood.
Today was the day. Continue reading »