My hatred of needles started at an early age.

I remember it vividly.  Mama often regaled people with tales of her little girl–the kid who, when she’d gotten a shot, would go up to anyone who would listen and show them her boo-boo–with the biggest pout and eyes full of tears.

Okay–yes–I was a fucking adorable kid.

2 yrs

Even then, my face showed everything.  I was either full of smiles or on the verge of tears.  You always knew where you stood with me.

The tech probably saw my terror yesterday when she told me *I* would be doing Fogg’s injection.  Not just prepping it.  As all good teachers would have done, she wanted me to practice with her first.

But…but…I hate needles.

When I was fresh out of high school, I remember taking this phlebotomy externship at St. Anthony’s Central wherein I followed phlebotomists around and worked the machines that processed blood.  I liked the lab part and the patient part, but not the needle part.  I used to be in awe of these wizards of pokery.  How quickly they did things.  Knowing all too well I could NEVER do THAT.

In college, I remember we had a lab wherein the professor rewarded us by letting us type our own blood.  I could not–for the life of me–prick my own finger.  Maybe I had such a self-preservation instinct that it was impossible.  I had to get my lab partner to do it, and even then, I stuck my lip out.

It’s why I never went to med school or became a nurse. Or a vet.

With Mama’s illness, I was lucky I never had to inject her with anything.  I just managed the dozens of pills and the oxygen.  I’m actually quite good at caregiving, but I was scarred–maybe for life–by the poking they did to her.  By the massive purple bruises and the neck IVs because they never could get it going easily.

I think it’s why I avoided doctors so hard-core in the years following.  I didn’t want anyone poking me like that.  I inherited her veins, after all.

But then I got sick and then I got thyroid disease.  And so, I get poked a whole lot.  Will be getting tons of blood taken in a few weeks, in fact.  I’ve almost passed out a few times.  I’m better.  But I can’t stand to see the needle.  Or my blood.

Self-preservation, I guess.

I gave my first unsupervised insulin shot this morning.  Prepping the needle was harder at home with Rilly running around me–refusing to eat his breakfast.  (He wants attention and is pissed I fed him at 9 pm last night–instead of 3:30 pm, as normal.  Yes, he remembers).

I also prepped the horrible tasting (based on Fogg’s reaction) antibiotic and found some honey–just in case)–and went to grab her.  She’s still not keen on wet food–even warmed up–but ate lots of dry, so we were ready.  I gave her lots of lovins and apologized.  And then proceeded to make the skin tent and tried to remember what the tech said–taking care not to put my thumb on the plunger until I was fairly sure it the needle tip was in.  The first time, I wasn’t sure I was in far enough.  Being a perfectionist, I decided to remove it and try again–which dulled the needle (as the vet tech said it would…gah)–and caused her a bit of discomfort.  She let me know she was not happy, but I plunged it and rubbed to make sure there wasn’t any medicine on her fur.  It was successful–but I was pissed I hurt her.  So far, she doesn’t appear to be having big nasties.  So I’m assuming I did it all correctly.  I’m going to watch her for a bit before taking the car back and grabbing breakfast.  I’m starting work late today, and I’m kind of nervous to talk about it–mostly because I’ve really not talked about the ordeal of this week with anyone except over text and email.

I know I’ll get better at this, and one day, I’ll totally not flinch when I do it.  But it’s kind of nuts to think I’m actually doing these things.  Who am I?

This whole thing–plus the thing on Saturday–oddly…has helped remind me of why I’m working so hard to be a counselor and to finish the stupid degree that I still won’t finish until this fall (not offered till then, of course).  I want to be there for people who are hurting–who have no one–the way I have often had no one.  I just think I can help, and it helps me so much.

I took time off from therapy for a few months while life was insane, but I decided yesterday that I need to get back on that.  Even if life will continue to be insane.  Even if I have to pay out of pocket to see a therapist I like.  It’s time to do more of the hard work and get more of my life back.


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