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Author Topic: Needles and Irrational Fears  (Read 3992 times)

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Offline Lostgirl

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  • Posts: 58
Needles and Irrational Fears
« on: September 18, 2007, 09:40:01 AM »
Good Morning everyone

I have a question that really doesn't have an answer I guess, but how do I cope with the regular blood works when I have a terrible fear of blood being drawn?  Note I don't say I am scared of needles, I can take any amount of injections, I don't bat an eyelid, but blood being drawn - that's a different story.  Last time I managed to stay calm (the health worker was very good at her job and I only had a small sample taken) but I know that today I am going to get a lot drawn, and again in two weeks time.  I am already sweating just thinking about it and more so about the fact that from now on it will be a regular occurence every three months (am I correct here?) to check figures etc.  Now, nothing else I think about relating to illness and HIV bothers me in this way.  I can mull over everything rationally and come up with solutions and coping strategies.  The blood work?  I am almost crying thinking about this just now.  Hey ladies I gave birth to my second child without as much as an asprin (and she got stuck for an hour!) so a bit of pain doesn't bother me.  How can I cope with this?

Thanks again and regards to all
L.
Lostgirl

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,366
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 10:38:18 AM »
Hi LG

I am the opposite of you in this area. Curious beyond curious. So, I'll tell you what I do and maybe there will be something you can "draw" from it.

I look at everything...the script, the vials, the tech, I choose which arm and always have, I watch every part of the process because every tech is different in their technique, intelligence and energy. I ask questions if one arises because of something I observe. I'm ready to press the gauze in place when it's over.

If the tech inserts the needle like a hot knife into butter, I always praise him/her. They seem to appreciate it when someone knows they intend to do it at a quality level. If it's slightly uncomfortable I might intend to steer away from that tech in the future.

Making sure you are well-hydrated will help your veins be more accessible and be good for you, too. Make sure you've eaten so your blood sugar level doesn't become a compounding factor. And, perhaps talking with the person and letting them know you are wanting to get over this because you'll have quarterly, sizable draws, will enable them to give you some tips.

Hope to hear how it goes for you.

Em

Offline Lostgirl

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  • Posts: 58
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 10:45:37 AM »
Em. You are a genius!  I was reading your reply and thinking 'oh god grief, she watches everything.  The blood ...' and just as I pictured the blood in a vial I felt woozy and suddenly realised, its not the needles, its the blood!  I get dizzy etc from looking at and thinking about the blood!  I had never thought of that before and also the hydration and blood sugar.  Because I am nervous I tend not to eat or drink before hand but am so hungry afterwards - explains the woozy feelings etc!  And I always thought I was intellegent!  Doesn't take a genius to work it all out!  I won't look at the blood, and will eat and have lots of water beforehand!  (Still hate the thought of regular blood work tho!).
Thanks again.
L.
Lostgirl

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,366
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2007, 10:51:09 AM »
HI LG

So glad to see you're back online! I was hoping to catch you before you went to your appointment.

And, I'm glad you found my post helpful.

One little addition is that the blood you see is typically just the blood moving into the vial. I make it a game to try to affect the speed with which the vial fills by flexing my hand/arms muscles and increasing my breathing rate. When I don't do that, I simply watch how my pulse affects the beat of the waves of blood as they move into the vial. Just fun, time killer stuff for me.

Perhaps over time, you'll come full circle. But, for now, sounds as if you've got a game plan for today.

Check you later, heh?

Ta
Em
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 10:54:31 AM by emeraldize »

Offline Lostgirl

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  • Posts: 58
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2007, 11:02:04 AM »
Hi Em

Many thanks.  Will let you know how it goes!  I won't eat too much at lunch just in case the Health Worker ends up wearing it!

Bye
L.
Lostgirl

Offline Dragonette

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    • NotPerfectAtAll
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 11:30:39 AM »
what helps me, because I have just the one entry point and unfortunately I have to go to a university hospital where more often than not 20 year old med students train on me ( >:(), are a few things:

1) lying down - usually if you ask for that they will take you to a special lie down chair, most clinics have them, or even a bed

2) what Em said, eat beforehand, dehydrate etc, with one difference, I don't look at the equipment but instead of shierking away from the needle I force myself to feel the sensation of the stab, almost medidate on it, and when you do it's not that awful because you feel everything and it's just like some kind of physical pinch rather than a horrid fear.

3) if the nurse acts too inexperienced I ask for a more experienced one explaining that I will pass out if too much probing is involved (I don't but that's how it works without insulting the young 'uns)

4) if you know where to draw from (easy access point) point it out yourself and save your self all this probing and searching. I know from years of experience I only have one point at the outer side of my arm. Some how because it is in the arm bit and not in the inner bit, it also feels less "fragile" if that makes sense.

 I'm with you on all this. I hate needles, the only thing I hate more than blood drawn is having an IV put in! But I am not afraid of tattooes, go figure...

Hope this helps...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 11:32:15 AM by Dragonette »
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline HealthyMomma

  • Member
  • Posts: 128
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2007, 02:50:49 PM »
I feel ya on the needles! I hate them soo much! I usually make sure to eat something before I go like a muffin or something and being a bottle of juice with me to sip before and after or I feel so sick! And when the time comes, I lean back in the chair, look the other way and concentrate on my breathing! LOL They all make fun of me because i passed out the first time I went there lol Good luck to you cuz I know this isn't a fun thing!

Offline Lostgirl

  • Member
  • Posts: 58
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 05:51:26 PM »
Well I am back from the clinic and it went really well.  First of all I had lunch with a couple of friends and was able to forget about my appointment.  Ate a light lunch and had lots to drink (non-alcoholic!) per advice you gave me.  I think what helped a lot was for once I met with fantastic staff all round, from the receptionist who was really pleasant to the new doctor I saw (female).  She was absolutely fantastic.  Apologised for the treatment I had received from the first doctor and was annoyed that I had not received proper counselling etc.  She asked all the right questions, listened carefully and most important hugged me!  She insists on seeing me once a week, got all the blood work I need for the specialist and told me to come and see her to pick it up personally to take to my ID doctor, as it was my private information and I would feel much more relaxed and happy if the fewest amount of people saw it (totally agree there).  She spent a lot of time with me and made me feel so much better about myself.  So by the time I saw the blood lab I was more relaxed than ever before.  The health worker was very pleasant and I explained I was not good at this and asked for her advice.  She laughed (not nastily) and said the best advice she could give was to breath, please breath she said!  Well I laughed so much I found myself relaxing (not totally but better!).  She explained everything, was very very good at her job and very quick.  I didn't look but talked to her while she was doing it and that helped.  Bless them.  Anyway, that's the story of today's visit!  I did come home to phone message however saying that yes I did have a urinary infection so it is back tomorrow to pick up my prescription - should have seen about that earlier I know!  Hopefully it will clear up quickly and not affect the kidneys (my mum died last year of kidney disease but don't worry I am not getting in a state about it picturing my demise from this! She was 84 when she died, smoked like a chimney and had high blood pressure and three strokes.  I have a bit to catch up on!). 

The doctor did give me anti-depressants and I have never, in my whole life, taken these.  Not sure whether I should or not.  I am not feeling so low as I was a couple of weeks ago although I still have times of real sadness.  Any advice ladies? 

Thanks again for all your help.  Don't know what I what do if I didn't have you all.
Lots of love and hugs
LG
Lostgirl

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,366
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 11:20:51 AM »
HI LG

Regarding whether or not to take anti-depressants. First, this doc, whom you responded to very well was, if doing her job well, listening very closely to you. She was also weighing the information with everything she knows about HIV diagnoses, the emotional impact,etc.

I'm betting she picked up on some things that caused her to think you are experiencing a level of depression. No stigma attached to taking anti-depressants. Many of our citizens are on them. And, it doesn't have to be a long-term affair. Sometimes it's a course of drug taken to get you on track, upright you, so to speak.

To put your mind totally at ease about this, why not call her office. Speak with her if you can or a nurse and ask if she prescribed the med because she thinks you're depressed and if so, what were the clues she picked up.

If you don't believe you want to take them, tell her or the nurse that and ask for feedback about waiting.

You are in charge. I think you just need to ask a couple more questions to feel grounded in taking or not taking the meds.

Glad the bloodletting went so well!!

Em

Offline BT65

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  • Member
  • Posts: 10,093
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2007, 11:49:02 AM »
Sometimes I just want to tell them "give that to me, I'll do it myself." ;)
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,366
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 02:03:19 PM »
Hey BT

Would that be the drugs, the needles, or both? :D

Em

Offline purpledragonfly

  • Member
  • Posts: 149
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2007, 02:19:53 PM »
Hi, about the anti depressant pills, i was put on some about 7 yrs. ago. I was pretty scared about taking them, didn't want to but i did. It all turned out great. I am off of them now. It was funny my kids called it my happy pill. I can look back now and see that even tho i didn't think i was depressed, i was, and i am so happy that my dr. decided to put me on it. I know if i need them again that it wont be for ever and that they will help alot. Hope things start to settle down for you. If you have any questions pm me. I will help if i can.

Wendy

Offline Lostgirl

  • Member
  • Posts: 58
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2007, 06:31:44 PM »
Hi Everyone

Thanks for the usual great advice on everything.  It helps me mull things over in my mind, utilising everyone's varied experiences etc.  Two things made me take the dreaded white pill today.
1) Reading about your thoughts on why the doctor prescribed the antidepressants made me realise she had been assessing me very carefully.  Looking back I see she looked at me intently with every answer and comment I gave.  She had a way of looking deep into your very soul.  She saw something in me that I have managed to disguise very well for the past few weeks.
2) I had a mini melt down last night which my husband coped with admirably!  Too much stress build up I guess and my facade slipped when my husband told me about his viral load (he went to see his specialist yesterday).  It is sitting at an unbelievable 1.2 million.  However hubby managed to eat all his dinner plus his dessert while telling me this.  He has such faith in his Specialist, who was very encouraging, but I think that was the straw that broke my back.  I just had visions of him dying at the table (me who has been very encouraging to him all this time) and (here I get very selfish) I thought 'Oh no, he's going to die and leave me alone to face all this crap'.  That, which is so unlike me, spiralled me into my melt down.  My husband was very calm and this lunch time we had a good talk and, like you all, he felt the doctor was correct and saw in me a need. 
There, I have admitted to my melt down! (I hate admitting to not being so strong!).  Anyway, we will see how things go.  I know they take a few weeks to kick in and I hope they don't make me into a zombie as my sister arrives for 10 days in two weeks time!  If they can get me through a couple more months till I can cope again that will be great.

Thanks girls.  You are the best.
LG
Lostgirl

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,366
Re: Needles and Irrational Fears
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2007, 08:47:36 PM »
Hi LG

Thanks for being so willing to be honest and share what was eating at you. And, a melt down, or setting down your cheerleading pom-poms for a moment, does not a weak woman make. Quite the contrary in my view.

If you become zombie-like and hate it, then talk it over with your doc. Again, I'm banking on her talent and that she's prescribed something to help you stay with the day's demands, not cling to the ceiling nor make new friends with corpses. It might require adjustment or change over time, but as Wendy wrote, it will likely have an endpoint.

Take care
Em

 


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