I timidly walked into the center, heart pounding. I'm not going to lie, I was so afraid. And I told them so. I checked in and then answered about 50-something questions. I was secretly hoping that one or more of them would disqualify me.
"Have you traveled out of the United States in the last 3 years?" Yespleasedontstickme!
"Have you taken anything containing aspirin in the last 48 hours?" Ihavenowletmego!
"If male, have you ever had any sexual interactions with another male since 1977?" Um...what???
Well, nothing disqualified me so they pricked my finger to get an iron reading and then put me in the chair. I popped my headphones in and pulled up Top Gear on Netflix. They asked me how I was feeling about every 30 seconds. I must have looked really bad. Iodine on the arm, blood bags hung on the chair. All that was left was the needle. I almost said stop but I quelled the urge and powered on.
Pain! Probably not physical pain as much as my brain screaming at me that something was all wrong. The phlebotomist left the needle in for a bit to get things started. And then moved it around a bit. And them played with it a little more.
They couldn't get a good stick. They informed me that they were going to pull it out and didn't think it would be a good idea to try sticking me again. That came about 3 seconds before I was going to tell them I couldn't handle it anymore. I was almost relieved that this one was on them.
And that was it. I drank some water and ate an apple. I called my co-worker to come and pick me up. And I went back to work. My arm still hurts, my blood is still all in my body.
I'm really glad I tried this today. As of right now I don't see myself trying again any time soon. Maybe I can talk to my therapist and figure out a way to conquer my fear of needles. In the meantime, I feel proud of myself for making the effort. I really wish my body and brain wouldn't react like this. Intellectually I know that I'm safe.
Well, I think that's all I have to this story. Until next time.