From blood tests, to routine vaccines, to IV’s, there has never been a shortage of needles in my life.

When I had my surgeries in Stanford almost 10 years ago, I remember holding both of my arms out straight in fear that the two IV’s on each arm would snap inside me if they bent. At that time, having at least one IV was a regular ordeal, and I simply dealt with it. Back then, I had not really thought too much about them, simply a source of discomfort.

But ever since my surgeries, and the series of various needles following, I have developed somewhat of a fear of needles. Before getting an injection or my blood drawn, I would freak out — internally, of course — and play the scenario over and over again in my head before hand.

Around a month ago, I had an MRI done for a regular post-surgery check-up. I knew beforehand that I would need an IV for contrast, as I had been through the ordeal many times. However, several unpleasant experiences with IV’s still haunted me, and I walked into the prep room nervous.

Seeing the IV itself in the plastic wrap caused an involuntary tremor within me, and a familiar knot began to form in my stomach. As the spot of the injection was swabbed down, after I meekly informed the nurse that I would rather have it in my right arm, I had brief flashbacks from similar situations.

Despite the knowledge that it would not hurt, and the stinging sensation would be gone at within the minute, the psychological block remained. Something about the process, the lack of control, and the childish fear of even the slightest bit of unavoidable pain prevented the transcendency of the mental barrier.

This time, I can luckily say that, in retrospect, the actual MRI was the worst part. The cacophonous variety of sounds pounded in my ears for what felt like an eternity, while in reality lasting 40 minutes. The IV injection went smoothly, and the blast of relief that I felt following the quick procedure felt great. I immediately murmured something along the lines of “That wasn’t that bad”, and vowed to remember that, and internalize it.

Although I have not gotten my irrational, but deeply entrenched fear as of late, the recent MRI gave me a note of hope, that the annoying and gripping panic leading up to a simple injection would one day go away forever.


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