A Shot in the Dark

Today I am going for my second dose of the Covid vaccine.  I am prepared to feel crappy tomorrow, though I didn’t the first time, so who knows?  I was talking with E about shots the other day, and how she isn’t scared of needles.  She’s a brave girl.  I remembered back to how I felt about shots as a child…it wasn’t good.  There is one vaccine that I’m not 100% sure got in my system., because I refused the shot and when they gave me a liquid vaccine for it, I spit it in the doctor’s face.

My first blood draw, I was maybe 8 or 9.  I was in the hospital for the first time since my birth, and the doc needed blood to figure out what was wrong.

Mom gave me my teddy bear to hold and I tried to be brave and was even curious when the nurse said she was going to use a “butterfly needle.” But then, I panicked, and I kicked that nurse square in the chest.  They had to hold me down to get the blood.  It was not my finest hour.

Then came diabetes at 16, and with that, regular blood work and insulin injections.  If there is any silver liming to diabetes, it is that you learn not to fear needles very quickly.  Firstly, insulin needles just do not feel the way any other needle does.  It’s barely anything.  You’re injecting into fat, not muscle like you would with other shots.  This involves less nerves.  Plus, the needle is super thin, and the thinner it is the less it will hurt.  Blood draws were more painful. after a while I got used to them, and would just look the other way and take a deep breath and wait for the moment to pass.

Then, about five years ago, came gastroparesis, which meant I was getting blood draws and IVs repeatedly. Eventually, my veins blew.

Like…all of the them.

They started using my hands when the arms died.  When those blew, they started forgoing IVs and just giving me muscular shots for medication, which sting.  Then they take blood from my wrists, which hurt at first but doesn’t so much now. 

Last time I was in there, I had to have a central line put in, which is a tube that goes in your neck.  It’s as horrifying as it sounds.  First, you get a shot to numb the area, then they put the thing in, and then they stitch it up.  The whole time, you are lying on your back with plastic sheeting over your face.  That seemed to be the worst part for me though, the feeling of being trapped; of suffocation. 

They gave me my meds through it and it felt like a train hit me, and then I passed out. 

If 8- or 9-year-old me could see me now.  Voluntarily driving two hours away for the sole purpose of a jab in the arm?  Little Brigid would have none of that nonsense.  Heck, you would figure even Big Brigid wouldn’t be interested, what with all the extracurricular pokes and prods I receive.  Alas, here we are.

My parents are now fully vaccinated.  I am about to be fully vaccinated.  Many of my friends and family are in process of getting vaccinated.  Soon, hopefully, we can all breath a collective sigh of relief.

I remain hopeful.

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