Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something New You Learned Last Year

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Salted almonds in a white bowlClick here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Last year I learned some new tricks that helped me avoid fainting after receiving vaccinations. My body has never liked needles, so I have a long history of swooning like an nineteenth-century heiress whenever I need a blood test or an injection.

Honestly, swooning is only amusing in historical romance novels. In real life, it’s a little frightening and embarrassing, especially when you feel like it’s out of your control.

Here are the steps I took to avoid that fate this time around.

I can’t guarantee they will work for you or that they will work every time, but they’re certainly worth a shot (so to speak) if you’re also a fainter:

  • Have a snack and something to drink beforehand. If caffeine is something you imbibe, this will work even better. If you can’t or don’t drink caffeinated beverages, consider picking something a little sugary or salty if you can eat those things.
  • Ignore any embarrassment you might feel and talk openly about your history of fainting with the medical professional. They might have additional suggestions!
  • Lie down if at all possible. If you must sit, try to have a kind friend or relative standing nearby to catch you.
  • Relax all of the muscles in your arm (or whenever you’re about to feel the poke) to help reduce the pain.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Focus your gaze on something in the opposite direction of the needle.
  • Clench your stomach muscles as the needle enters your arm.
  • Have another snack or drink as soon as you can after the procedure.

Basically, you want to be well-hydrated, relaxed, and distracted. The snack can help keep your blood sugar and blood pressure at steady, acceptable levels.  I suspect the stomach clenching idea works because it provides yet another distraction.

There’s something about the combination of all of these things that makes it easier to avoid passing out.

 

 

 

 

12 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something New You Learned Last Year

  1. I learned that my first solution to a problem is not always the one that is possible or even the best. There are work-around ideas and alternatives, but they take a bit of time to develop. This was one of the big lessons of doing a major home renovation during a pandemic.

  2. I really don’t have any tendencies that way — at least, so far! — but I still tend to focus on my body and letting it relax. Then I (voluntarily) tense up. For things like donating blood, I relax again once the needle’s in place; for standard shots, I relax after the shot’s been given. I remember being told that it wasn’t necessary, but it helps me feel like I’m in control of what my body is doing.

  3. I’m so sorry they’re so hard on you! I don’t mind vaccinations as much as I used to (I’d much prefer if I could give them to myself as I am so used to my own injections they don’t bother me, but apparently that’s a “huge liability” so they won’t let me), but getting blood taken OUT of me? HELL TO THE NO. I hate it. I get dizzy and faint every time. Now I always ask them to talk to me. Questions are good. Doesn’t have to be rocket science. Extra points if they can make me laugh. Have you ever tried that numbing stuff? I used to get it when I was a kid. It comes in a patch that you apply to the area half an hour before the injection and you don’t feel a THING. Doesn’t help if it’s mostly the idea of it that’s the problem, but thought I’d mention it in case. I used to do the same thing with snacks when I got anything pierced – I’d throw down a juice box as soon as it was done and it nearly immediately returned me to normal. Excellent tips! I’m glad you’ve managed to find some things that help. It’s not fun to be the one on the floor!

    • Thank you!

      It’s too bad you can’t give yourself your own vaccinations.

      No, I’ve never tried numbing stuff. Is it something you need a prescription for where you live? Or maybe it’s something a pharmacist could give out?

      Not feeling the needle go in would really help for sure! I can block out the thought of it okay, but you still feel that prick of pain. It would be wonderful to skip that part. Thanks for the suggestion.

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