Yesterday was b-day for me. No I'm not talking about Birthday's or toilets but blood testing... b-day.
Some of you may have seen over the past few weeks that I've 'come out' as being needle phobic. A few people already knew this but I haven't really discussed it as I get very mixed reactions. Most people, including health care professionals, don't understand or accept that I have a phobia of needles. Yes I inject every day, sometimes up to 8 times a day. Yes I prick my fingers every day (again up to 8 times a day) to test my blood glucose levels. Yes that's a lot of needle action in one day! Is it any wonder that some people have a fear of needles?
I won't go into the ins and outs of this as I want to focus on the support that I received to get me in and out of b-day tear free and smiling, but having a phobia isn't something that is easy to get over or should be taken lightly. It has effected my diabetes (and I'm sure I'm not the only one this has happened to) and it can ultimately effect a person's life. It isn't a choice and it should be addressed by health care teams if they are aware that there is a problem.
Back to b-day...
Firstly there was the overwhelming response from the diabetes online community. In my last post I made a comment that I hadn't had my HbA1c tested for almost a year. My consultant had discovered my naughty little secret and asked me to get the test done. The reaction that I got from twitter and facebook comments made me feel hugely supported and much more positive about the task.
Yes a few people did make me squirm a little bit by going into a little too much detail about the process and why they had strange obsessions with watching the test (you know who you are!) But I still laughed and felt that with such a fantastic community behind me I could definitely do it!
Another push that I needed was when someone commented that she had exactly the same fear as mine and had also put off having her a1c done. We both knew the importance of the test and we decided to unite (over twitter) and agreed to just go for it! I actually felt like a hand was holding mine as I spoke to her because she understood and, although she too was scared, we were going to help each other. The power of social media is amazing!
The final support came from a friend who had asked (I didn't have to request) if he could come with me to hold my hand while I had my bloods done. At first I said no because I didn't want him to see me cry (I'm a ninja after all.) But his reply to that was he knew I would cry and he wanted to be there for me when I did. Having physical support to lean on was the final helping hand that I needed and I didn't want to let go of that hand.
I felt that I had a small army with me that morning! Yes I did clam up while I was waiting but I wasn't going to let myself or anyone else down by bailing on the test. I sat in the cubical, squeezed my friends hand as tight as I could, buried my face in it and then it was done! I felt so silly for making such a fuss because it was the easiest blood test that I'd ever had! The nurse didn't even need to poke around for a vein and I barely felt a thing.
I did have tears in my eyes after but I was just so pleased and proud that I'd had it done and made my way over the hurdle that used to make me fall.
I definitely wouldn't have done it without the online and physical support that I received, so thank you to everyone... Now I just need to get through results day!