Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fear of Needles and Being a New Diabetic

I’ve had a fear of needles… No, not a fear. A fear is reasonable, and what I feel about needles, even the smallest ones, isn’t reasonable. What I have is a phobia of needles. Webster lists a phobia as “an irrational, excessive, and persistent fear of some thing or some situation.” Yes, that’s how I feel about needles. The simple mention of the chance of a shot can send me over the edge. My blood pressure spikes, my skin becomes flushed and then pale, I feel cold to the touch but I’m burning up and sweating at the same time. I feel light headed and sick to my stomach. Not a pleasant thing.

It’s so bad in fact that years ago I had two major surgeries and refused pain medicines afterwards both times because at first the doctor would only order pain shots. When I wouldn’t give in, he finally ordered me pills, which on an empty stomach made me throw up. Of course since I was cut from can’t to can, the nurse came running with a shot to stop the throwing up. You can guess that she left with it.

Now, would any adult put themselves through such pain over a little fear?

NOT!

That’s a phobia for you.

Well a few months ago my doctor…after getting the results back from some blood work she had ordered…with a needle…said rather causally that my blood sugar was too high. It had been a couple of times and that I was a diabetic and should watch what I ate and work out and lose some weight. She said it so matter of fact and then moved on that I don’t think it even landed in my mind. I was sure I had misunderstood probably, that she just meant my blood sugar was a little high and so I should watch what I ate, ect….

When I came back to see her three months later for a fasting finger poke, my blood sugar was high enough that I was put on a daily pill for it. She also suggested that I get a blood tester for home and keep an eye on my sugar level at least a few times a week. I smiled and nodded but left there in shock I think. I was so upset that I don’t even see how I made it home. I remember thinking that I would rather die than face a needle every day. That there was just no way I could do that. I just couldn't. I just wouldn't!

Three months later, after working out more and eating right even better, I went back to her again for another fasting finger poke. The results weren’t good.

I left there with orders to double up on my daily blood sugar meds and to start checking my sugar levels often at home. It took me a month to accept it and to finally talk myself into the machine. It turns out that although I still can’t stand the thought of a needle, I wasn’t ready to die over it after all. And I sure didn’t want to let things get worse and have to add daily injections to the blood sugar tests.

It’s been over a week now. And I doubt I’m testing as often as some do, but I am testing daily and many days a number of times throughout the day. I’m learning when my sugar levels are the most stable during the day, and when they are the most unstable. Morning is a bad time for me. I have to really watch my carbohydrates at breakfast to the point of having little or no carbs then. Lunch is my best time and I can get away with more. I’m learning what things seem to trigger a spike in my sugar levels and what doesn’t. It’s not easy, but I’m dealing and I’m doing what has to be done so I can be here for my family even if not for myself. So I’m feeling pretty proud about those awful sticks. And who knows, after a few hundred, maybe I want even begin to shake and turn cold just from the thought of it. (Smile)

1 comment:

Carol B. said...

Maybe just the monotony of doing it every day will inure you to it and after awhile it won't have the same effect.

Sorry you're having to go through all this, Charlotte. Guess that ostrich head in the sand thing doesn't work, huh?