Many years ago, I worked as a full-time registered nurse in a primary care teen clinic. We treated all kids who had gone through puberty; up through the time they finished high school. Let’s just say, I learned a lot!
I was one of two nurses who were there daily for eight years, so I felt I got enough experience with teenagers. Because of that I’ve advised my munchkins to skip that pesky adolescence phase because I don’t need to go through it again. And you know it’s all about me!
A vault of medical secrets and stories that would turn your stomach is hidden in my brain. So many that every once in awhile I have to sneak one out, making sure not to mention time, place or any detail that would go against HIPAA rules. This nurse isn’t going to be paying any huge fines or going to jail for a funny story!
While educating and immunizing these teens, I saw many types of phobias:
• The fear of bubbles.
• The fear of white coats.
• The fear of STD’s. (There should have been a lot more of that fear going round as often as I treated for them!)
However, Belonephobia (the fear of needles) was something I dealt with almost every day. Most of these kids had all of their immunizations when they were very young, so they didn’t remember what it felt like to get a shot.
So the first time I would come at them (nicely and gently, mind you), they would TOTALLY FREAK!! Teenagers would be climbing up the furniture or running away from me, screaming and crying. It was quite a site.
The majority of the kids, after getting their first shot of their teen years, would do much better with following shots. But there was a fair percentage, who truly feared needles.
Usually the bigger the patient, the more likely they were to pass out. Yes, pass out cold. If you have ever tried to catch a high school linebacker, you know it is comparable to stopping a sequoia from going down. Ain’t gonna happen!
It didn’t happen once or twice, but I started to notice that there was a pattern. There was nothing I could say to calm those football players down or alleviate their fear, so I just sat their tight ends in a chair by the wall and prayed they tackled the wall.
“How can you play football, get tackled and beat up all over the field, and you are still afraid of a little needle?” I asked.
“I HAVE PADS ON!” he cried.
“I’ll wait for you to get your helmet and pads, if you think that will help,” I joked.
Two minutes later … I had an Offensive Lineman down in Room 4. Don’t worry, just step over him. He’s fine.
Back in the day, I wish I could have created a shirt to give as a prize if they would remain upright.
The “I survived my fear of needles tee shirt!”
A sticker and a lollipop weren’t going to cut it with these boys.
Hopefully, as these kids got older, their fear of being stuck with something sharp, would lessen. I’d hate for them to crash at the side of their pregnant wife getting an IV or her epidural. But I’ve heard stories about that too.
Things could be worse for them though. They could be afflicted with Zemmiphobia – the fear of the great mole rat. Now THAT phobia would be a pain in the butt!