Wednesday, August 03, 2011


I am not a fan of needles. I would not go far to say that I am afraid of needles, but I have a healthy respect for the pain they can inflict. This is not some random, unreasonable dislike for needles that I possess. Rather, I have a logical rationale for my weariness around needles. I was born with tiny veins. Yes, you may look at me and wonder how that could possibly be so, but it is true. My rather large body is filled with itsy bitsy teeny tiny veins. I don't know where I inherited these tiny veins. I can only guess they came from my father's side of the family. Having lost him when I was eleven years old, I have trouble remember his face sometimes, much less the width and heft of the veins in his arms. I can guarantee you that my small veins did not come from my mother. She has veins that practically pop out of her arms the minute a rubber tourniquet is applied. The phlebotomist could easily extract gallons of blood from her veins with minimal effort. I am a different story altogether.

Not only are my veins tiny and barely discernible under my skin, they also are of the “rolling” variety. I have never drawn blood from a person, but I have had my blood drawn enough to know that tiny “rolling” veins can reduce an otherwise perky phlebotomist to a cursing, sputtering pool of contempt. As a result, I never—and I mean never—get blood drawn on the first poke. As a matter of fact, it typically takes several pokes before the blood-drawer can find a vein. Sometimes they will take the needle out and re-poke me a couple of time. Other times, they will leave the needle in and play a painful game of let's-wiggle-the-needle-around-aimlessly-until-we-get-lucky-and-hit-something. The former hurts. The latter is excruciating.

So, as you can see, I have a perfectly rational cause to be uncomfortable around needles. I don't like them. They hurt. I am not a masochist. I don't enjoy pain.

As a result of the brawl I interrupted a couple of days ago, I am going to be receiving a tetanus shot this afternoon. I am pretty certain that I have not had a tetanus shot since living in Minnesota, and Ihave been here fourteen years. So, I suppose it's time to get one. At least that is what Ruanita is telling me through clenched teeth. As much as I despise needles, I would probably hate developing lockjaw, foaming at the mouth (no, that's rabies, right?), and uncontrollable tonic muscle spasms even more. So I am conceding defeat in this circumstance. I can't stand up to Ruanita and logic at the same time. I will get a tetanus shot. No, the nurse practitioner will not be fishing around inside my arm for veins this time, but she might as well be as far as I am concerned. A needle is a needle is a needle. And they all hurt.

I am not happy today.


Madgew said...

I have the exact same problem and I warn everyone taking blood out of me. Some listen and for the most part take it from the veins in my hands (works better). Also, once they hit the vein I flow like a crazy person. Giving blood is easy once they hit the spot. I am done before all others who started after me. I am used to it and it doesn't phase me. When I worked for doctors I drew blood all the time and got good at it. Also, shots were easy for me to give and take. Tetanus, will hurt you for a few days in the arm and it will be sore. I have stories to tell of all my blood drawings and what people say when I worn them and then they miss and are pissed. Some just immediately go for the hand and it always works with a smaller butterfly needle. Mine run and roll and I let them fish around. Usually they go to deep and go through the vein then they have to pull out a little to get in the vein. Sorry you have not embraced this Shannon, it makes it so much easier. And I love the know it alls who are humbled when they miss continually while not listening to me give them the lowdown. I love the ones that accept I know my body best.
I totally understand what you mean. Good luck today.

Just Margaret said...

Ow. That's a bummer--if I were you, I'd plan some sort of a treat for myself immediately following the shot. Like a double fudge sundae or something :)

Kelly said...

Tell Ruanita she needs one too! Not for the tetanus part, but for the pertussis part! Adults should be getting boosters to protect infants from pertussis! (At least you won't have to suffer alone.)

Post a Comment