Disclaimer: I was going to insert a picture of a needle, but I can’t bring myself to look at it.

Trypanophobia: the extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles

I had to get a tetanus shot this morning.  It’s been 10 years since I went to the health clinic the day after my high school graduation and got a tetanus and meningitus shot for college.  And it’s been approximately 20 years since the day I was to get a shot to test me for allergies – the day I believe I became trypanophobic.

All I remember from that day is that I got really scared and wouldn’t let the nurse give me the shot.  I made everyone else’s doctor’s appointments behind schedule because it took so long.  I don’t even remember actually getting the shot.  But I do remember them telling me “If you don’t sit still we will have to take you to the hospital and strap you down.”  The perfect words to tell a terrified, sobbing, snotty 7-year-old.

Ironically, I don’t have any allergies. (besides pet dander, and you don’t need a shot to figure that one out)

Sowanyway.  Whenever I find out that I have to get shots, I die a little bit inside and tell myself that this time I won’t turn into the 7-year-old again.  It seems to get better every time.  I’ve had 7 surgeries.  That’s a lot.  And the first few happened when they still gave you a shot in the butt before going under.  That was in addition to the IV.  I think for my tonsillectomy I set everyone back 25 minutes.  And it was also right when our pastor came in to pray for me.  Nice.  Needless to say, shots usually conjure up feelings of fear and embarrassment.

When I got my tetanus and meningitus for college I didn’t make a fuss (I decided that 17 was the age that I was going to be grown up about it) and my mom said that she’s never seen me sit that still.  Ha!  No strapping me down threats that day!  And last fall, I had a medical procedure done with a doosy of shots – 12!  My dad said to look away and sing something, because your mind can’t focus on two things at once.  I picked the Beatles and the poor doctor was kind enough to say I had a nice voice.  Little did he know the vibrato was involuntary.

But today – today I didn’t cry.  I didn’t have to sing.  I did need my best friend to hold my hand, but other than that, I survived.  Sigh.  I can’t say that my fear is completely gone, but I’m learning how to cope and prepare myself.  So, for my fellow trypanophobics, my advice is, stay calm, breath deep, close your eyes, sing a song, and treat yourself afterwards!

I kinda wish they would have given me a Beauty and the Beast band-aid though.  Or maybe Spongebob.

P.S. The list of famous trypanophobics include Conan O’Brien, Snoop Dogg, Derrick Rose, and Jackie Chan!


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