My older brother was deathly afraid of getting shots. Terrified. Once, when he was a child of about 6 we went as a family to a hospital on an air force base. My father was in the U.S. Air Force at the time. We walked up to a temporary building which served as the immunization clinic and that's when it hit my brother that this was really going to happen; we were all going to get the required immunizations so we could move to Turkey for a couple of years. And immunizations meant "shots!!!"
He bolted just before reaching the door to the clinic and crawled under the building, refusing to come back out. My father was irate and bellowed at him to get his butt out in an instant. The sheer force effect was futile against the absolute terror of the needle.
My mother tried the capitalist way and offered a bribe, the nature of which I don't remember, but that had no effect either. My father was on a tight schedule, and had meetings with his commander directly after this family event. The last thing he wanted to do was to crawl in the dirt under a building while wearing his clean and pressed uniform and his shiny black, regulation shoes.
In the end we were reminded that rank does have its privileges. My father was the hospital commander and several of the enlisted men under his command happened to be passing by and, after assessing the situation (and the potential benefits of succeeding), immediately crawled under the building and dragged/cajoled my brother out.
I'd like to think my brother would have outgrown this phobia as he entered adulthood but the continuing stories of his medical phobia are now family legends. And worse than shots for him? That would be blood tests where a quantity of blood is required. He might steel up his nerve now and go in to the appointment, if there is absolutely no recourse, but he routinely faints dead away on contact with the needle.
He was not the only person with a needle aversion in the family, to a lesser degree I shared his anxiety but I tried to be more stoic. I can give blood if I'm horizontal and I can get shots if you let me sit for a few minutes afterwards to regain my composure. But I do remember the time we had to get TB tests in order to volunteer at Ben's pre-school. The test was called a Schick Test and basically it's just a little prick and an air bubble under the skin.
I went to my private doctor's office with Ben in tow to get the test done. I was led into the exam room and the nurse quickly "Schicked" me. I got up and walked down the hallway and into the waiting room where Ben was happily reading under the watchful eye of our favorite nurse. Then I felt a bit woozy. Then I sat down and put my head between my knees. Then I started sliding toward the floor. Very embarrassing, to say the least.
We'll, I'm happy to report that I seem to have conquered this fear; at least for now. I've had several novocaine/lidocaine injections at the dermatologist's office this quarter, another at the surgeon's office and one at my dentist's office. No dramatic, visceral or regurgitant responses to report. And now I am also two for two with Moderna Covid-19 vaccine injections. In fact, in my own mind I seemed both macho and brave for both doses of the vaccine; both times I got my jab and proceeded out to the observation area without missing a step or having a vasovagal response of any kind. Not even a tremor in my hands --- and that's notable given the amount of coffee I ingest...
I wish I had been able to take a selfie today because I looked absolutely heroic while actually getting the jab. My jaw was set (rigidly) in a posture of pure nonchalance. But there were signs everywhere prohibiting photos; even selfies.
So, I was scheduled to get my second dose today at 10:30 p.m. but in an excess of hyper-punctuatility I arrived at 9:55, was ushered right in and, after cursory paperwork, plopped down in a chair in front of a steely-eyed nurse who crashed the giant harpoon of a needle nearly through my massively muscled upper arm and then recommended that I go straight home and take an extra strength Tylenol. She was formidable so I followed her suggestion. I am almost four hours past the injection and I haven't had a side effect yet. The same nurse told me to keep moving my arm around for the first half hour afterwards as that would subdue the soreness. I think she was right.
Now, if I play my cards right, stay out of mosh pits, avoid the biker bars on Sixth St. and stay out of overcrowded elevators for the next two weeks I'll become as immune as I can be in the moment, and less cautious during every day.
But if very many more people insist on poking me with needles in the near future I might end up under a portable building trying to become invisible. I doubt B. or B. will try to bribe me out. If they do want to try a bribe I'll quickly suggest a 50mm Apo Summicron lens. Just, you know, as a nod to system completion.
I'll report back if there are any delayed, adverse reactions. Thanks for everyone's patience with my hypochondria.
The follow up: We're nearly eight hours out from Vaccine Zero Hour and so far I've had no side effects to report. No fever, no chills, no nausea, no headache. Maybe they gave me the placebo... Waking up tomorrow morning will be the real test...