The main problem is that I know that I have to have this draw, but I also know enough to know that blood draws on me are potential MAJOR medical procedures. Smart doctors who are educated on needle phobia know this, and on the occasions where phlebotomy is called for, have a complete "crash cart" on hand, as blood pressure could drop far enough to send the patient into shock. All well and good. However, most doctors have no idea about needle phobia, and have a "suck it up" attidude. I also now enough to know that a needle stick is absolutly unnessicary tommorow. They want it to check my immunity status to Rubelola, Rubella and Varicella. I have up-to-date immunizations (included some less common immunizations, due to overseas travel), and while the Varicella vaccine was not available to when I was a kid, I have had chicken-pox. I'm hoping that they will allow me to have medical records faxed over, or at the very least, that they just do a finger-stick vs. a venipuncture. The finger-stick doesn't bug me at all, (neither does the poke that they have to do for the TB test), but venipuncture causes me to hit the floor everytime.
I think that using needles in medicine is a practice that will have to go away, if we want to make medicine available to all people. It is just not practicle to have a common procedure like that that is unavailable to 10-25% of the population, and to many of that 10-25% very dangerous. Reports say that 10-25% of the population are severly needle phobic (like myself) and accually many experts think that these estimates are low, as needle-phobic people tend to completly avoid medical attention. And it's not a "suck it up" problem. There are many indications that the response is genetic, and these possibly genetic symtoms are the worst (EEGs show wild, eratic brain activity during venipunture. Up to 11 different stress hormones are released. I personally experience moderate nervous hypoxia and vasovagal syncope [my brain becomes oxygen starved and I pass out]). I am feeling woozy just thinking about the procedure.
This problem is a major limiter in my life. I enjoy science, and love medicine. I would love to be a physican's assistant, but fear having to do needle procedures.
Anyway, that's about that. Hopefully I won't have to be stuck tommorow, or, if I do, that I'll do allright and won't have any severe reaction.
X-posted to my journal