That Emoji face says it all. It is very late on this last Saturday of February. To be exact, it is February 27, 2021. I am having trouble falling asleep tonight. I am feeling very fearful about my upcoming DBS procedures and all I need to do to get ready for it. Having this DBS surgery is completely my choice. I really thought I was wrapping my head around it this month, but after looking at the calendar tonight, I slowly but surely began to panic all over again.
Allow me to give you some background as to why I am so terrified of needles and anything to do with invasive procedures. (And YES!! I consider a blood draw an invasive procedure)! When I was about 9 years old, my pediatrician suspected that I had juvenile diabetes. Looking back, I have to wonder what he was thinking? The only symptom I had (and it is a weird one) was that I woke up (on several occasions) in the morning with dried blood on my hands (not a lot, but enough to worry my parents). While I was sleeping, I would scratch my inner thighs and actually make them bleed, but would not remember doing it the following morning. I remember my mom calling our Dr. and making an appointment for me to be seen. They called her back with an appointment time and explained what they were going to do. The way my mom explained it to me, was that they were going to prick my finger every 30 minutes for three hours to look at my sugar glucose levels over time. So as much as I hated the pin prick, I was not scared because I had had those finger pricks so many times before. However, it definitely was never something I looked forward to.
Well..... My mom clearly misunderstood what type of blood draw it would be. There was no Google back then. Whomever my mom had spoken with, never clarified what type of blood test it would be. So when they called me back into an examining room, I held up my right hand so the nurse could easily get to my fingers. Much to my dismay, I watched her put the tourniquet around my upper arm and then watched this huge needle with a tube attached to it enter my vein. Then came the blood flow. I was completely shell shocked, not to mention it HURT. Each thirty minutes she took another six tubes of blood. After the fifth set of tubes, I had one more round to go. But this time they made me literally guzzle this sugary lemonady tasting drink. Between the pure sugar drink (and I hate lemonade with a passion) and my fear factor now over the top, I started throwing up and then passed out. Keep in mind that I had fasted since going to bed the night before. When I came to, my mom was less than happy that I had one more set to go before we could go home. She became so upset that she had the nurse page the Dr. to tell him that we were done. His answer was if I did not do the last series of blood work, they would have to start all over again on a different day. So..... I endured it one last time. The nurse who drew my blood was very mean to me. How was it that she did not understand that I was a child who had never had blood drawn this way. She kept telling me to stop crying. Her lack of empathy coupled with me throwing up and then passing out, has stayed with me all of these years. Cognitively, I know that sometimes it is necessary to do blood work, but emotionally I am definitely scarred for life. Oh and if you are wondering where my mom was through all this, they asked her to stay in the waiting room after the second set of blood draws, because I was not cooperating with them while my mom was in the room. They hoped I would be calmer if my mom was not there. After all of this, it turns out that I did not have diabetes!
Ok.... So that is my little background story on where my fears began. Now the next hurdle to leap through will be a my Pre-op appoinment on March 8th. I will have a blood draw followed by a CatScan. I can deal with a CatScan. I have had three of them already and they are not scary at all. Only your head goes inside of the tube and I am happy to report that they do not need to do one with contrast. If my Dr. had ordered one where contrast is needed, then a needle would have to be used to put the dye into my body. The blood work I could do without, but that is what my anti anxiety medication is for, in case I need it. At this point I have not taken any anti anxiety pills for at least the last two months. The day of my blood draw, I will take a half of an Ativan to stay calm. I also have a friend taking me and bringing me back home afterwards, so I do not have to worry about driving. I am choosing to try and just focus on the next hurdle rather than panicking about the MRI and all of the nose Covid tests I will have to endure in the weeks to come. In the meantime, I will focus on the here and now. Care to join me?
Just Breathe zzzzzzzzz 🙏🏼