So yesterday I got my flu shot! For free! Thanks to an on-campus health promotion event, sponsored by numerous university departments.
In celebration, I played “Flu Shot” by Awkwafina when I got home:
I thought I’d take a few seconds now to see how many people have gotten the flu shot for this upcoming season. Don’t raise your hands all at once. I’m well aware that people are beyond thrilled to have needles puncture their skin, it’s like everyone’s favorite thing. It’s right up there with getting punched in the face and someone stepping on your shoe while you’re walking.
Which reminds me, I used to be deathly afraid of needles when I was younger. I’ll go ahead and include blood as well. I’m not sure where I developed this fear, because I never saw any major trauma happen in my life or to those around me. I mean, besides a really bad knee injury, I was never really around exposed bleeding. I can only assume that my fear – and let’s be real here, it was more of a phobia – for needles and blood came from movies, television or horror books. I went through a period of time when I would read nothing but horror books. It started innocently enough with the Goosebumps series, but then I got curious in the library about the other titles in the horror genre. I discovered Steven King, and that was a huge mistake with regards to my sleeping habits. Television was no better, seeing the news and the terrible atrocities occurring world wide would leave images of injured victims burned in my mind. But nothing beats movies. I never quite understood why my parents were so quick to shield us from the sexual scenes in movies we would watch together as a family, but there was no problem with me watching a man’s head get ripped off or explode. Gore was something that was common place in movies, so it was hard for me to watch without squealing and squirming at the sight of the fake corn syrup blood.
My phobia for blood and needles actually ended up dictating my career choices. Regardless of how much I wanted to be in healthcare, specifically to help people, I ended up choosing a major that stayed away from sharp objects and serous bodily fluids. It wasn’t until my senior year of my first bachelor’s degree that I would discover that needles and blood didn’t actually have the panic-attack effect on me like I thought they did. I signed up for an elective credit course called Introduction to Pre-professional studies, and through that course I was able to shadow several healthcare professionals. Several of whom were surgeons.
I remember very vividly the surgical technician asking me if I had ever seen a surgery before, to which I responded no. She took a few steps closer and looked me in the eye to let me know that if I were to feel nauseous or lightheaded that I should step out of the room. My God, I can faint witnessing this? What am I about to see??? So as much anxiety as I had for the moments leading up to the first cut of flesh, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it did not make me want to pass out. I had never seen so much blood in my life. But I was still standing on two feet, eagerly listening to the surgeon as he explained everything he was doing. Could it be that I didn’t mind the blood at all?
I realize that reading this may make me sound like some sociopath killer, OMG BLOOD IS SO COOL – that’s not what I’m saying here. I’m saying that I lived my entire life fearing something that I never really understood, and when I encountered it in a learning environment, I was intrigued and not at all afraid.
Needles are no different. Have you ever measured a needle? Seriously, like they’re not that big. Less than two inches. Honestly…how are we afraid of that? Getting an injection is no worse than getting a paper-cut. Actually, paper-cuts suck more because they leave you with that stinging feeling. You know the one, like, fresh acid. The needle is in and out in a matter of seconds. Sometimes your arm, or whatever body part you had injected, may begin to feel sore…but I mean, at that point its not really the needle’s fault is it.
I’m not sure where I was going with this post. So I’ll end it.