Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Needle Alone

Living with arthritis, it might not occur to many that you are poked and prodded quite a bit, but that is the truth. You will be poked and prodded. I used to get anywhere from five to seven needle sticks a month between blood drawings, Methotrexate (Chemo) injections and contrast for MRI's or something along those lines. Now I'm usually stuck about once a month but it can change depending on what treatment I go on next.
Anyway, I know some people are really afraid of needles and I can relate: I've been there before, I swear. Some people are fine with telling people they're afraid of them, such as one of my friends. Not so much boys though, because most tend to say they don't like them but aren't afraid. And some people just aren't affected by it. I'm not and most people who have chronic illnesses aren't.
A lot of people have coping methods. Most of these involve gritting your teeth and making a fist. Some people may hold another's hand or just appreciate the company. Sometimes children will look at books or blow bubbles. And yes, people cry and show discomfort: I've gotten my blood drawn next to a woman also getting her blood drawn and she was obviously nervous  and seemed as though she could cry. The nurses and I tried joking to help distract her. What people don't realise is if crying or making faces helps you get through it, by all means do it. Don't go overboard, just if it helps release the stress you've built up in anticipation for the needle or if it helps releave pain. Hey, I've been there before: I haven't cried since I was little but I've closed my eyes and made frustrated expressions because it helped. Also that helps the nurse know you are in discomfort and if they can help relieve it, they will usually.
Another thing people often say helps is to bring along a friend or family member. Many people find comfort in having a fimilair person with them. In my case it's usually my mum. I haven't had a needle with my mum present in two or so years. I never bring my mum along when I go for scans, even though I'm given the option of her presence. Honestly, I like doing these sorts of things alone for a number of reasons:
1.) I feel more likely to ask questions.
2.) I'm more likely to have a conversation with the nurse or who-ever due to being alone.
3.) I don't like it when my mum or anyone sees me in pain or such situations.
4.) I find it awkward.
I know everyone is different. Most people expect you want company or support during a test or procedure but in reality it really just isn't always the case. I'm okay doing things alone. It feels better because I know that I'll be able to pay attention to the nurse or doctor better. Also, when I get hip ultra-sounds, it is a little awkward so I prefer to be alone with only the technican and/or doctor, who are perfectly used to this.
Maybe I'm the odd case, I'm unsure. But, I just know that sometimes being alone is just what you need.

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