Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Needle Phobia

I don’t have a fear of needles, which is a good thing considering that Vince and I got our ‘flu shots last night.

I know some people who are deathly afraid of needles, which I don’t understand. But then, I also don’t really understand the fear of heights – so what do I know? (Fear of spiders and other creepy crawly things, on the other hand…well, now we’re talkin’!)

But I found it interesting that last night I wore the same expression on my face that I have ever since I was a little girl facing the doctor and getting a shot. (Or, rather, facing away from the doctor. Ha ha…) But I have always refused to acknowledge the pain – or the pinch, as it were, of a needle piercing my skin. Probably I’d be a good candidate for tattoos if I were so inclined to have indelible ink injected under my skin. I am not so inclined, so I guess we won’t be able to test the theory.

Nevertheless, memories of going to the doctor as a kid made me smile – once the Band-Aid was applied, anyway. Mom usually brought three of the four of us at one time. I’m guessing that it was an ordeal – so she figured she might as well get it over with all at once. My older brother, on the other hand, never seemed to be along with us on these doctor visits. Either he was an extraordinarily healthy child or Mom figured he was a project that was best handled alone.

Anyway, once the heinous word “doctor” escaped from Mom’s lips, my sister (younger than me by 5 years) commenced crying. And she never stopped. On the drive there. In the waiting room. And once we reached the inner sanctum and the doctor actually showed up, she ramped up the tears to near wailing.

My younger brother tried to be a little more stoic, but the tears usually began once the doctor arrived.

So I, as the elder and wiser sibling of about 7-years of age, somehow felt I needed to be the mature one. Nary a tear leaked out of either duct. Not that I probably didn’t want to give in to a good cry as I certainly didn’t look forward to having a sharp needle jabbed into my backside.

After the first needle experience I couldn’t really give in to tears anyway since my mom held me up as a shining example to my younger siblings. “See? Jane isn’t crying,” she’d plead. “Try to be brave like Jane.”

Yeah. Like that worked.

Fortunately, the pediatrician had extensive experience dealing with fearful and crying children. He was mercifully quick and, once the torment was over, lollipops magically appeared. And, just as magically, my sister’s wailing stopped almost immediately as if someone pressed a Mute button.

When I think about it now, it makes me laugh.

I don’t know if this is really true, but I can picture my mom – nattily dressed and perfectly coiffed at the beginning of the experience of hauling three sick children to the doctor. And then, afterwards, stumbling to the car holding on to her toddlers’ hands with her hair mussed and an expression of sheer exhaustion on her face.

Probably I should send her a thank you card for all she did for us. Maybe even throw in some flowers. On the other hand, I was the paragon of bravery. So perhaps my sister should be the one sending flowers!

(And if my sister and brother are reading this…um. Oops. Sorry. But this does not give you license to tell stories about me.) I’m quite sure I can tell plenty of embarrassing stories about myself – believe me, I’ve got a lifetime of red-faced moments!

In the meantime, I enjoyed my own little trip down memory lane. And I’ve gotta say – I’m really glad I’m a grown-up now and whenever I have to get a shot, it’s in my arm instead of my backside. Those suckers hurt!

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