Makes my blood run cold!

The blood was a dark red. 

I was a young kid and can’t remember much else from the day, but two things stand out: my dad’s bloody hand, where he had cut himself on his radial arm band saw, and the huge grin he had spread across his face.

My dad was cutting a piece of wood in his basement workshop, when the saw bounced back and cut him. My dad used to warn us to stay away from the saw, but he didn’t have to tell me twice, I gave it a wide berth, even when it was turned off. I was scared to death of the blades, I always thought they looked like wolf fangs and wanted to take a bite out of anyone who passed by them. This time they got my dad.

When he came upstairs, his hand was a bloody mess, but he didn’t seem the worse for wear, because he was laughing like a little kid. He kept asking me if I wanted to look at the cut and I screamed back “no.” My mom didn’t care for his joke either. She told him to shush, wrapped his hand in a towel, and drove him to the hospital. I guess my brothers watched me until my mom and dad got back from the hospital. My dad tried to show me his stitches, but I wanted no part of it, I had seen enough. 

My experience with blood over the years hasn’t gotten much better. In the years since, I’ve never really been able to look at blood or needles. I automatically think back to my father’s bloody hand. (I think back too on the bloody prom scene from the original Carrie movie, but that’s a story for another day.)

By Roger Brown via Pexels.

I don’t know that I qualify as having a hemophobia, an intense fear of blood, or trypanophobia, the intense fear of needles, but I’m right there. Here’s what I mean:

I’m not spinning, you’re spinning

When my wife and I first got married, we figured the adult-thing to do was to get insurance policies on each other. When you bought a large enough policy, the insurance carrier required you to take a blood test, screening for various health conditions. The insurance representative actually came to our house to give us the test.

The guy talked a mile a minute. In any event, when he pricked my finger, I started looking at the blood forming on my finger and then back up at my wife, blood and then my wife, blood and then my wife. The guy barely noticed, but I started getting dizzy. I wasn’t feeling all that great to begin with and hadn’t had anything to eat, so of course, sweat started to bead on my head and I started swaying in my seat.

My wife noticed right away. She asked if I was okay. “Oh, yea, yea, I’m fine,” but I clearly wasn’t.

For the next ten minutes, the representative kept talking about different policies and investments. He could’ve signed me up for anything at that point. I clearly was off somewhere in La La Land. Fortunately, my wife saw what was happening and got rid of the guy as soon as she could.

All from a simple finger prick. Ugh.

Um, hello, anyone here to help me, the pregnant lady?

If that wasn’t bad enough, the story gets worse. When my wife was pregnant with our second baby, our son, one of the test scores raised some questions and her doctor wanted to run an an amniocentesis, a prenatal procedure that takes fluid from the womb and checks for birth defects such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and spina bifida.

When the doctor was ready, I watched as he inserted a needle into my wife’s belly. I held tight to her hand, looking at her face, the image of our baby up on a screen, and then back down at the needle and tubes running from my wife’s belly to the machine. I wiped the sweat off my brow and gripped her hand tighter. I could feel the lightheadedness coming, but I told myself that I had to be strong for her.

The doctor looked up and asked, “Brian, are you doing okay? 

“Oh yes, yes, I’m fine,” I lied. 

He didn’t believe me and asked a nurse to get me a chair. When I still didn’t perk up, another nurse went to get me an ice pack for my neck. Meanwhile, my wife sat unattended. Yea, I’ve been trying to live that one down for the past twenty-some years. 

By Roger Brown via Pexels.

I vant to suck your blood

I’m a mess, but here’s the strange thing. I still regularly give blood, especially when there is a large need in my area. I can’t look at it. I can’t watch it, but I give when I can. The nurses and the assistants at the blood donation center all look at me strange, when I tell them that I can’t watch. I guess they hear that a lot in their jobs, but I’m fine as long as I lie down and close my eyes.

I’m not sure why that is, I guess the thought of helping someone else in need takes precedence.

Or deep down, I really am a vampire!

58 thoughts on “Makes my blood run cold!

Add yours

  1. You’re a wonderful person, or perhaps vampire, for still giving blood despite your lifelong fear of blood and needles. I’m the same way and always get queasy. But it is a necessary good in the world and for your own health. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Brian this was horrible, flesh creeping horrible to read, but I kept going. Blood as such doesn’t bother me but needles do. I was definitely coming out in sympathy with you when you were describing your pregnant wife’s experience- maybe it’s just as well I’ve never been pregnant. They’d have had to knock me out. When I was about 16 I went into hospital for a knee op. It took 4 nurses to hold me down for the pre-opp.

    But before you described the needles, I was thinking, when describing your dad joking about, we can see where your sense of humour comes from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry on the gory detail. I was actually worried about that. I had my wife read the post first to make sure I didn’t go overboard. Now maybe she was biased. I’m sure she liked getting back at me for leaving her stranded during the amniocentesis all those years ago! Four nurses to hold you down. That sounds horrible. I would definitely be scarred after that. As far as my dad’s humor, yes, I probably get my sarcasm from him. He was always fascinated that I didn’t like blood. He was in the Army and used to say that he got poked and prodded so much that he didn’t get worried about needles and blood. My response was: “Well, I’m still a kid!” Ha, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I dont think you went too far. Just the word needle is enough to get to me … so I know its just be being hyper-sensitive.

        I love your response to your dad

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Brenda who commented, blood doesn’t affect me but I can’t look at a needle while it’s being inserted. I have blood tests every 3 months because of my diabetes, and I’m 1 pint short of a gallon of blood donated, so I’ve had plenty of needles to look away from. Ironically, once they are inserted and I can see the blood running, it kind of fascinates me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with Brenda…your “Brian-esque” sense of humor shines through, even when the topic is blood! And the description of YOU needing an ice pack and attention during your wife’s procedure? Hilarious. (Sorry!) But I love how you ‘own’ it…and still give blood — but with the request that you not peek. Go, Brian – way to conquer your fears for the greater good! 😎

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Probably too gory, but hey, ya gotta laugh. Oh, that ice pack put my wife over the edge. Ha, ha. She’s pretty easy going, but I remember that drive home from them hospital and her complaining that they were focused more on me than her or the baby. I will never ever live that one down. Just no way. I’m pretty sure my problem with blood is the same one why I was born to be a writer: I have a very active imagination. It’s just blood, but in my head I’m imagining everything happening to me. I’m imaging the saw blade or the needle. It’s like a movie that’s on slow mo running inside my head. Yes, I’m crazy. That’s the first step, right? Ha, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh….I love how you made that connection…I bet you’re right — blood symbolizes so much…and with your active imagination…you’re off! Considering all the creative possibilities in every “scene”. And no, not too gory. I can handle a lot of ‘blood stuff’ but it varies so much by person. I love what Deb said (below) — good thing you chose writing and communications as your career versus something in medicine! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, when medical shows are on TV, I look away. They like to gore people like me out. I think my son is still considering Pre-Med just to cause me headaches too. I’m convinced of it. That or he figures it will be the best way to keep me out of his business! I could never work in a hospital.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to be the same, really disturbed by the sight of blood and needles, through I guess I was put through “exposure therapy” because after dozens and dozens of draws over the last few years, they no longer bothers me. Through, I had an experience like yours with your father… oof, I’m not sure I could get past that visual!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My dad could not handle any bodily fluids or medical procedures. You could almost witness him transform into a six-year-old boy before your eyes. But then we all have our fears, right. I am better with needles than our modern day diagnostic tools like MRIs. I have heard the needle for amniocentesis is quite long, though. Yikes, that would get to me, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, I forgot about that Maggie. You are so right, the stinking needle was extremely long. It just kept going and going. We learned a lot about the procedure after the fact. In hind sight, we probably would have skipped the amnio, we were having the baby no matter what. I’m not sure the doctor learned all that much. In any event, I always joke with my wife that my job that day was to add a little humor to the stress of the day. Btw, it’s funny I have no problems with MRIs, because I can close my eyes!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Having blood taken on Monday, I asked the tech if she’d ever had anyone faint and she said yes. I guess your queasiness isn’t that rare. As far as your last line, you have it opposite, donating blood rather than ingesting it. 😉
    I’m glad there are people like you willing to donate. I did when I was young, but health issues changed that or I still would.
    Hope your wife’s procedure wasn’t too painful. My oncologist took a bone marrow sample from my hip a few years back and I would gladly have been elsewhere for that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I’m sure the tech was talking about folks just like me! I’m sure we bring him/her lots of entertainment. 🙂 The amniocentesis wasn’t too painful for my wife, just emotionally draining, but we got through it. I had the easy part. I was just the observer. And even that, I found a way to add some drama!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Typical… “The doctor looked up and asked, “Brian, are you doing okay?

    “Oh yes, yes, I’m fine,” I lied.”

    My husband’s the same.

    I wonder ummmm, humm can you imagine birthing that baby .. talk to me when you can.


  9. Your post reminded me of so many stories. One is too horrific to share that involved a saw and a friend of mine. Here’s lighter ones: When I was working in my dad’s dental office as a teen I passed out sitting on the little round stool as his assistant. He was performing oral surgery called a “ridge reduction.” I don’t think you’d be standing either after reading your post. He cut open the gums and filed down the jaw bone prepping for dentures. I was supposed to be holding the vacuum. Be sure to keep your teeth! I had an amnio too with my firstborn. My husband was okay then. But then when I had an emergency C-section he said out loud “You’re gutting her like a fish!”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Good for you to for giving blood regardless! I think your reaction to the amniocentesis was purely empathy. There’s very little that bothers me when the doctors do something to my body — but someone else’s body is a WHOLE OTHER thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was in the ICU for 10 days I got over my fear of needles. I felt like a pro lol. 20 years later a nurse was taking blood while another nurse was checking my blood pressure, I started to feel faint and suddenly they’re transferring me to a wheelchair and I’ve got people surrounding me…Mt blood pressure had dropped so low they freaked out and I spent hours in the ER but they couldnt find anything wrong…only later did one dr clue in and say “are you queasy around needles”? “Yup”. And then I was allowed to go home 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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