Friday, July 19, 2013

Brave Needles

The last time I got blood work done, as always, the nurse asked if I am O.K with needles. Often their tone of voice makes it seems as though, what they really want to say is, 'You're O.K with needles because you're diabetic right?' but for me this isn't the case. I may be diabetic, but I do not like getting blood drawn from me and never have.

The misconception is, that diabetics wouldn't mind getting blood work because we get it done frequently and because we give ourselves needles every single day, or every three days. However, giving a needle to ourselves is far different from someone tying off your arm, jabbing a needle in the bend of your arm and drawing vials upon vials of blood. Totally different.

So, my procedure after telling them that I dislike getting blood drawn, is to simply look away.  I do not fear the actual needle, it hardly hurts, but to see that blood fill up that vial will for sure result in some light headedness or at least a gag. The nurses always seem to laugh at me, in fact one nurse told me, 'You diabetics are the worst!' I took it as a joke, seeming as we are believed to be the masters of needles when in reality at times we can be just as scared as anyone else.

This last time I went though, after I told the nurse I didn't like needles, she responded differently, "Well you're brave because I hate the thought of giving myself a needle, I would make someone else do it!" Mind you, she said this as she jabbed my arm, and I made no eye contact with her.  I responded with,
"Well, I couldn't imagine doing your job.  Giving needles, drawing blood..." I didn't even get into the part about collecting stool and urine.  She kept telling me how brave I was and that I was braver than her, but I kept thinking about what she does for an occupation.

It's funny how we each see each other in different lights. How something I do is seen as brave from a person who gives needles to people multiple times daily, and how she sees her job as being so ordinary.



  1. Great blog post Kayla! I am not a big blog guy, but I really dig your layout. Keep up the great work and climb on!

  2. I'm with you on this one... I always look away and take deep breaths as the nurse draws blood. Besides, the type of needle the nurses use to draw blood for tests is TOTALLY different from the needles we use daily/every 3 days. Luckily though, last time I had my blood work done I had a VERY kind and compassionate nurse. She had wonderful bedside manner and was extremely gentle inserting and taking out the needle. I was so grateful for her gentle-ness that I had to express my gratitude. All too often I stumble upon nurses who just seem to not care! Anyway, thanks for this post! Ainsley Powell xoxox

  3. I went to school to be a "vampire" as I call them, a lab tech, those who take your blood test it, test urine and stool samples. While in school my classmates told me I was the best at taking the blood. They assumed it was because I was used to needles.

    When I was younger, I threw up on the tech who took my blood. I didn't mean to. She figured if she went in fast instead of slowly like she'd done the last time. What made matters worse was she was the mother of my sisters friend!

    Now because of how my veins are, (they move, they hide and they just aren't deep enough) I have to have my blood taken from the top of my hand. They have to use a "butterfly". I had to switch labs because the one lab told me the size of the needle didn't matter, the butterfly needle was the same size as the regular needle, which I knew wasn't the case.

    Thankfully where I go now, they all know I use the butterfly. None of them tease me because I hate needles. They all say that they feel sorry for juvenile onset (type 1) diabetics who have had it as long as I have (since 1965) because we've had so many needle draws. They also say that in their experience most diabetics accept that they have to have this done so they are much better at needle draws than the general public.

    It's the same with regular injections, I tell the nurse to give me the syringe and I'll do it. That I've probably been doing it longer than (s)he has so I'll do a better job. They laugh at that and jab it in. I like the "vampires" better, they have more compassion.