Thursday, January 6, 2011

needle anxiety?

this morning, i was staring at the flashing cursor, clueless as to where i should start. i've tried this whole blogging thing before, and i always ended up quitting, or not liking my ideas enough (self critical, party of one?). hopefully i can stick to it. i feel more honest and accountable when i'm telling you all (my invisible friends?) about my blood sugars, feelings, and all that jazz so maybe this will be a good thing!

as i was emailing my hypoglycemic work buddy about blogging topics, she tells me about how she is always starving soon after she eats, and is always hungry right when she gets in bed, asking me if it's normal and if i feel those things ... and that she feels like her blood sugar is low RIGHT NOW and she needs to eat. i asked her when the last time she checked her blood sugar was. she totally avoided answering.

i ask her if she wants me to check it for her. four seconds later she appears in my office. i was surprised, because i know how she feels about needles. (not. a. fan.) she's already pacing. shaking her hands. asking me if it's going to hurt, then telling me she KNOWS it's going to hurt, she IS going to pass out.

so i go for my back up meter and get out a new lancet. 'omigod omigod omigod i can't even watch you do that.'
'do what?'
...pacing, deep breathing.

i said, 'if you don't want to do it, we won't. i was just offering.'
more pacing. 'now i'm SWEATING! i'm going to pass out.' she disappears.

my office is by the kitchen. she calls out to me 'cold water on the wrists! i just need cold water on the wrists.', i'm starting to laugh. and i tried to hide it, i mean, clearly she has some needle anxiety.'you know this is going on the blog that you're encouraging.' :)

she reappears. still sweating, still shaking her hands. 'give me your hand.' one simple request, i wasn't even HOLDING the lancing device or anything yet. 'ohmigod ohmigod.'  she pulls away.

'can you do it on my thumb?'

she reaches out again, and pulls away again. i BARELY touched her hand. 'ohmigod. ok. i'm sorry if i pass out on your floor.'
for a second i thought she might ACTUALLY pass out. i ignored her comment because she willingly put her hand back out.
'you do know that your anxiety about this is WAY worse than the actual prick, right?'
'okay. yes, okay. ...NO I CAN'T DO IT.' off to the kitchen she goes again.

enter male coworker. he sees her spazzing in the kitchen, and i can see him watching her. now, i'm laughing at his face as she explains the TRAUMA she is about to go through. he decides to have fun and tease her. 'well just do it now and get it over with. maybe we can prick ALL your fingers at once!' he says.

'i know. no, hold on, i CAN'T. i'm going to pass out.'

'you're helping.' i say to him as i went in the kitchen.'sit down.' i was totally using my teacher voice. and i'm not at teacher.
'because if you pass out, i'm not catching you and it will be easier if you're sitting.' she laughs nervously.
'talk to him and give me your hand.'  he tries to distract her, asking random questions.
'what? WHY? what do you mean?'
'just hold my hand like we are going to shake hands.' she FINALLY does it so of course i grab it and prick her thumb. OH THE HUMANITY!! can you BELIEVE i would DO such a thing to her?

'OW!' she squealed.
sigh. 'you're 78.'
suddenly, her normal voice returned. 'is that bad?'
'well it's not really bad, it's not too low, and you're hungry anyway, so eat so it doesn't get lower.'
and then she says, get ready for it ... 'you know, that wasn't as bad as i thought.'
hmm. no kidding? :)

20 minutes later, eating lunch, the drama queen is telling us how her thumb still. hurts. and she doesn't know how i do it every day. she gets the standard answer. 'if you had to do it every day, because your LIFE depended on it, you would learn how to do it and deal with it.' she's a smart girl, she gets it. i know she gets it, and i know some people have trouble processing how i could possibly stick myself multiple times a day, and do all this carb counting, insulin pumping and so on.

after more discussion about it through the day, and new questions popping into her head almost hourly, she decided she might see a new doctor, or at least get a second opinion about the frequent low blood sugars she's been feeling.

maybe they'll be able to ease her needle anxiety.


  1. you are awesome. and i love your blog.

  2. So good of you to help her. An online friend had to make her dorm advisor give her her first insulin shot. I teased her, "It's good to have friends you can count on to poke you with sharp objects."

    Welcome to the blogosphere!!

  3. i had a little time during college that i couldn't bring myself to insert my infusion set. i became very close to my roommates who would push the buttons for me! haha :)
    glad i got over that.
    (and thanks for the welcome!)

  4. eh-hemmm... i will accept your creative license on yesterday's events.
    your friend,
    the non-drama queen needle squeeler