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HAGEN: Those darn needles and blood draws

A disclaimer: If you're at the hospital today and squeamish about giving blood, you probably shouldn't continue reading this.

To all the nurses out there, how do you do it?

Really, how can you stick people with needles on a daily basis, watch blood flow into that little container and not get woozy?

You're all superheroes in my book.

Same goes with my wife, who gives blood as routinely as breathing.

It's a phenomenal process, really — wife sits down, nurse comes in, needle goes in her arm and about 20 seconds later they're done.

OK, so that may seem simple, but holy cow, I hate blood draws.

What's surprising is that little needle prick is so insignificant compared to some of the grotesque injuries I've sustained in my 30 years.

When I was young, I took a wagon down two of the largest hills in the neighborhood and, after crashing both times, sustained ridiculous road rash on my knees and arms.

At 10 years old, I Rollerbladed down a slide. (Yes, you read that correctly). The result was a broken arm.

I've nearly sliced my thumb off with a box cutter working produce while in college, slammed my fingers in car doors, and I've buried a fishing hook deep in my hand while alone on the boat. Oh, what a joy that was to remove.

Injuries like those, I did a pretty darn good job handling. Manage the pain and move on, I guess.

But it's those darn needles during blood draws that get to me.

I think I can recall every time I've been forced to give blood at the hospital, and, every time, I get weak and dizzy.

That's exactly why when my daughter was a year old and had to get an IV for pneumonia, I nearly lost it when the nurse couldn't get the needle in her vein because our little one was so dehydrated.

Well, recently I had to go to the doctor's office for "a routine" blood draw.

Sure, routine.

When I explained to the nurse my lack of excitement for the upcoming events, she did what she thought was best. She tried to fly through the process to keep my mind from overthinking.

We learned together that's not an effective method for me.

Here's how it went. I sit down — I'm fine. Needle goes in while I'm looking the opposite direction — still fine. Nurse is trying to talk to me and keep my mind busy — I'm fine, but start getting antsy. Needle comes out, I take a deep breath, look to my left and see the vial of blood. Not fine.

I looked up at the nurse, and said something like, "Watch the color leave my face."

Eventually, I wake up with two nurses with their hands holding ice packs down my shirt. Another nurse is fanning me with a Sports Illustrated and the fourth nurse is asking me if I remember where I am.

That's the first time I've ever passed out in my life from a blood draw. I suspect the culprit was I couldn't eat prior to this one.

Just minutes after I regained consciousness and got some sugar and water in my system, I laughed about it.

That little needle did that to me? It got me all worked up and made me black out for a tiny prick and that bit of blood?

After a few days looking back on all this, I think I've gathered an important lesson in life.

Pain heals, scars fade, but needles will get you forever.

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