Feb 13, 2013

Waiting for courage - or numbness

So I had to take a blood sample on a kid a couple of nights ago. It's obviously not unusual and as you might imagine it's not their favorite part of being in a hospital, so it's not unusual that they fuss when we do it. Last night was a bit different though. 

We have this cream that you put on their elbow crease that gives a bit of local anesthesia and usually this is a good thing. However this kid last night hated it, and I really get it. He got it on and then he had to wait for it to take, that is he had to lay there thinking about the fact that he was going to have blood drawn for almost an entire hour! He yelled and cried and said he was scared, all very natural and very common but still, heartbreaking. Later I talked to our nurses about why we put it on in the first place. Sure it takes the pain away from the actual blood drawing, but when you're big enough to think about what's going to happen it just gives you a whole lot of time to think about it and become increasingly scared. When the hour had passed and our lab.technicians came he had screamed for an hour and then, less than a minute later it was over. Kind of anticlimactic and unnecessary if you ask me.

I've often talked to my sister about the fact that the saying "act your age" is the dumbest saying in the world, because people act like kids no matter what age they are. I know this because the fact that I'm pretty close to thirty doesn't change the fact that I am just like the little guy. The nurses thought he was exaggerating and that he was acting childish (I mean he was over five, you're supposed to be able to "suck it up" at that age... or something...) and I kept thinking - this is the most normal reaction I've seen since I've started working here. If someone tells me I have to do something I'm really scared of doing I get a huge lump in my stomach and the longer I wait the bigger it gets, at one point or another I know that if I don't do it I'll become a screaming maniac that just can't handle it anymore. 

Still I keep waiting, thinking at some point courage will come to me, the anesthetic will start working and I won't feel any pain. 

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