Needles, Needles, Needles

I used to have a fear of needles. 

My feelings about needles still aren’t friendly, but I don’t know if I’d call it a “fear” anymore.  The weird thing is, it wasn’t even my diabetes that cured this fear – it was the whole having-a-baby process.  Twenty-seven years of poking my fingers, legs, abdomen, arms, and butt with needles did nothing to make me more comfortable with them.

To be clear, I did get used to the finger sticks and insulin injections a long time ago.  Still, it was a pretty difficult leap for me to start doing my own insulin injections instead of having my parents do them.  I remember needing to lie down because of the room starting to spin the first few times I wielded my own syringe.  But I got used to it.

Then I switched to using an insulin pen…and got woozy again.  But I got used to it.

Then I switched injection sites and started using my abdomen…and got woozy again.  But I got used to it.

Then I finally conquered my fear of infusion sets and got a pump…and got woozy again.  But again, I got used to it.

Then I took the scariest plunge and started on CGMS sensors…and got woozy yet again!  But yet again, I got used to it…in spite of those torturous insertion needles!  (I still close my eyes when I insert.)

So, I did get used to the poking and sticking required on a daily (or every-three-days, as the case may be) basis.  But anything – and I do mean anything – outside of this realm of “safe” needles was still a major challenge for me.

Those inner-elbow bloodtests that we all get on a regular basis?  Had to lie down for them.

The flu shot? Got woozy for that even when I did lie down!  (Something about the needle going into a muscle gives me the willies!)

The thought of an epidural or spinal block when my baby was born?  I got light-headed just reading about the process!!  (When I started reading about the c-section itself I actually had to quit multiple times because I was starting to see stars.)

But then I had a baby. I had an IV needle, I had a needle in my back for the spinal block, and then I had a c-section.  Now everything else needle-related seems kind of trivial.

Now I sit up for those inner-arm bloodtests.  I also sit up for that willies-inducing intra-muscular flu shot.  Heck, I might even sit up for my next c-section!!  (Ok, maybe not.)

It’s strange that it took so long, and something so drastic, to make that fear of needles go away.

It’s also interesting to consider whether this fear existed because of my diabetes (i.e. thanks to the trauma of being diagnosed as a 3-year-old) or in spite of it.

Regardless, it appears to be done and gone.  Good riddance!


4 responses to this post.

  1. I can totally relate. When I had to start taking shots 12 years ago, the first one took my literally 40 minutes to inject. Now it’s a bit easier, but not exactly painless.

    Since starting on a pump 4 years ago, ever 3 days I grit my teeth and clench up when I push the infusion set inserter button. Sometimes I get a phew, that was nice and easy. Other times, I might drop an f-bomb because I hit something.

    Good post Bethany!


  2. Posted by Alissa on April 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    For your information the “inner-arm” is called the elbowpit, similar to armpit.

    I enjoy reading your posts and as a non-diabetic, it helps me understand so many more of the “layers” involving in living with diabetes.


  3. Posted by Cin on May 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Oh, I know the feeling. Back when I was diagnosed, I had to go in for weekly blood tests. Not fun at all. Then the daily insulin injections, whoa !!! Big change. So, by the time of my C-section, needles were no longer a problem. The thing that was the problem: “You’re gonna put that big needle where?!?!?!”
    Great post B. 🙂


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