Down with NEEDLES!!!


                Not too long ago today I was peeling my daughter away from the corner of Quest Diagnostics. It took three adults including myself to hold her down to get blood drawn for her yearly school physical. The sniveling began from her chocolate eyes (as she calls them) since last night. I gave her a heads up on the clinic visit because my 6 year old going on 35 – doesn’t like surprises – she would prefer to prepare herself  (I assuming emotionally, mentally, and physically).

                Prior to leaving our home this morning and last night – we bargained and made a deal. She was allowed to cry but had to control her screaming (because it is really that BAD – at times to the point her throat hurts!). If she was capable of holding back her screams she would get to pick where we had lunch (fast-food obviously) along with a ‘prize’ of her choice (within budget of course).

                On the way over to Quest Diagnostics, my daughter even opted to not bring her Nintendo DS – (anyone who has a child with one knows what a big deal that means) she said couldn’t do anything but think about the ‘needle’ – and of course all that said with tears. My heart ached for her because I knew exactly how she felt – I myself am no fan of ‘needles’ and have to prepare myself for blood work. The only difference is that it is not as socially acceptable for an almost 30 year old to scream and cry at the site of a needle in public as it is for my 6 year old.

                Inside the center, my daughter was as nervous as a mouse trapped in a snake’s cage. She shriveled herself up on the chair, hoping to not be noticed. Once her name was called – the river began to flow from her eyes. So there we were with the sweetest phlebotomist you can ever have for an uneasy child. I thought for sure my daughter would find comfort in her soft tone voice. YEAH RIGHT! As soon as she saw the room she began to back pedal like we were dragging her towards electric chair. She went behind the door and cried in the corner. I could see her trying to convince herself to just get it all over with. I could hear her whispering “I can’t do it – I can’t do it -I hate needles”. My heart stung with pain as I tried to console her and just like any other mother – I wished I could’ve taken her place.

                I tried to talk to her and explain that this is something that is a must and that there is no other option. Needless to say – talking didn’t work. The phlebotomist then pulled out the “frantic child plan” – one person holds child’s legs – another person holds the arms – and one other person draws the blood. I think my daughter’s screams could be heard in the next town! Screams so deafening that nearby glass could have shattered. Even as we walked out of the room the phlebotomist said jokingly “I will send you the bill for my hearing aid!” as she waved goodbye. Nonetheless my daughter survived the needle (just like she did last year and the year before) and in the end she still got the fast food and yes, the ‘prize – I gave in. Looking at her through the rearview mirror of my car driving back home I could empathize with every tear drop that fell on her sweet cheek. Not only because I too despise needles but because I could connect to what she was feeling in so many levels.

                Whenever my husband leaves for deployment, training, duty, work, or for whatever reason Uncle Sam calls him, my family and I have no choice and his response is a must – there is no other option. I also prefer to know as early as possible if and when my husband has to be away from us (thus where my daughter most likely gets that from) so I can emotionally, physically, and mentally prepare. When I was told my husband’s deployment date I too found myself feeling trapped in a corner – attempting to convince myself that I could do this. The military had become my ‘needle’.

                The days leading up to our physical goodbye all I wanted to do was shrivel up and disappear. Tears invaded my pillow and Kleenex became my best friend. I found myself frantic, nervous, and in shock at the fact that had no choice but to go through with this – there was no other alternative. The only option I had was to peel myself from the corner and learn to walk on the journey of deployment all while suppressing the urge to scream as my husband is pulled away from me. I can’t say the same for my waterworks however. Every now and then I need a good weeping cry to fall asleep and/or to get moving in the morning. And I’m sure, just like my daughter, these emotions will come up again in the exact identical form every time we go through deployments and such. But ultimately, I know (precisely as my daughter knew too) that regardless if kick, scream, or cry I too will get my end of the deal and will be ‘prized’ with being with my love again. Definitely worth the pinch…