Saturday, January 26, 2013

Confessions of a trypanophobic mom

I confess: I once thought I wanted to be a doctor. After a short stint as a candy striper, I realized I did not like the pungent smell of hospitals, the sight of blood, or even the thought of needles.

As I grew older, my dislike turned into a downright phobia. When I had my tonsils removed at age 19, the nurse recorded in my medical chart: Patient has a phobia of needles. (And, yes, there is a term for a phobia of needles: trypanophobia).
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I tried to believe people who told me when I got pregnant and had children of my own that these fears would lessen.

And, in some ways, those people were right. Not even trypanophobia kept me from the needle-intense fertility treatments or from bending over and gladly accepting the epidural before my c-section.


I confess: I still don’t like it. I know all about medical necessity, especially as a parent, but it doesn’t mean I can’t avoid it when possible. For example:

I confess: I’ve closed my eyes during every vaccination my kids have ever received. (And, with twins, that’s a lot of eye- closing). I passed the thermometer to Marty when it was time to take their temperature “that way.” I let Marty measure the Tylenol and force down all of the other yummy medications. I leave the nebulizer treatments to him.

I confess: I justify this sharing of responsibilities to myself by reasoning that Marty is a know-it-all pretty close to being a medical professional. He has a degree in sports medicine. He did an internship watching old people walk on a treadmill in cardiac rehab, and now, in his job in pharmaceutical contracts, he puts dollar amounts on negotiates documents that include words such as EKGs, MRIs, and CT scans. See, he’s practically a doctor’s worse nightmare doctor.

I confess: Marty doesn’t mind; in fact, I think he enjoys playing doctor and being important. And, for my part, I avoid the icky stuff that makes me cringe, all the while knowing that my Babies are in good, less nervous hands.

But, every now and then, I find myself squarely in a 9-1-1 situation where I can’t close my eyes. Last Thursday was one of those situations…

I confess: I knew as soon as Emily fell in the lobby of the Cheesecake Factory, onto the hard, cold marble floor, that we had a problem. In that slow motion, yet blink-of-an eye moment, I remember setting my wine glass down (good forward thinking, Melissa), scooping her up in my arms, and cringing as I saw the blood. I knew it was going to take more than a bandage to cover this boo-boo.

I confess: As I heard the wine glass break, I realized I hadn’t moved it far enough out of the swinging feet of the uninjured twin, Drew.

I confess: The broken glass was someone else’s problem, and I am grateful for my family who watched over Drew and the manager who handled the glass clean- up.

I confess: I was also grateful for Marty, who with the eye of a semi- trained medical professional, took one look at Emily’s chin (so I didn’t have to) and decided we needed to get her to an Urgent Care as quickly as possible.

I confess: I surprised myself with how calmly I handled the situation from there. I looked up the closest doctor’s office, arranged for Drew to stay with my family at the restaurant (where we were gathered to celebrate my mom’s birthday), and then drove us safely, in a cold, almost icy rain, to the Urgent Care that was thankfully less than a mile away.

I confess: Marty and I took turns holding Emily as she vacillated between wanting me and wanting Daddy, and as hard as it was to wipe the blood and hold the ice pack while she cried, I did it, even though, I was crying right along with her.

I confess: I got a little queasy (and a whole lot of emotional) when the PA decided the gash was too deep for the Dermabond glue and instead recommended stitches—three of them to be exact.

I confess: I let Marty hold her while she got the stitches while I nervously paced, back and forth, just out of view of the action.

I confess: Thirty minutes later, when we rejoined the family at the Cheesecake Factory, I sat amazed at the quickness of the whole ordeal, the bravery and resilience of my little girl, and the strength of my nerves when tested. (I was also grateful for the replacement glass of wine that tasted even better than the one broken earlier).

I confess: Five days later, as I sat alone in the pediatrician’s office with Emily, waiting for the doctor to come in and remove the stitches, I tried my best to put on a brave face.

I confess: I held Emily tightly as the doctor did a piss-poor job of trying to remove stitches from a wiggly, frightened two and a half year old. When his hand slipped and he snipped her little chin with the scissors, creating a new gash, it took everything in me not to yell at him to stop, to openly question how he ever received a license to practice medicine on children, and to request he send in someone more qualified. But, for the sake of my child, I remained calm, talking Emily through the worst of it, and remembering that any scar would be just that—a scar. Nothing more.

I confess: Hours later, at opening night of our favorite NHL hockey team, the grisly memories of our doctor’s visit earlier in the day seemed so far away.

Until Emily decided to lean too far forward and popped her forehead on the seat in front of us... And, I thought, “Oh, ^&%$. Here we go again…”

I confess: The pre-mom Melissa might have freaked at this point. But twin-mom Melissa has responsibilities—namely another child who needed me to get him safely up the stairs. I remained calm as I gathered our stuff and wrangled Drew up the stairs. Marty, with Emily cradled in his arms, was already halfway to the first aid station.

I confess: Relieved doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when the nurse could find no signs of a concussion—a big, blue bruise, yes—but no concussion.

I confess:While I contemplate buying a bubble in which we can enclose Emily, she seems to be taking all of this doctoring in stride, perhaps even using it as an opportunity to explore a future career in medicine.


Jill Jankoski said...

Great post! I love and admire you more than I already did! :)

yetunde said...

Honestly, I'm not laughing at you. I thought the hockey gave was going to be the happy ending and then you added the little gash. How are your nerves and Emily coping?

In your shoes, it would take a divine miracle (or protective father) to stop me from keeping the kid in bubble wrap until say her 18th birthday.

PS: I have a fear of needles too and closed my eyes even when giving myself fertility meds

Jill Jankoski said...

Great post! I love and admire you more than I already did! :)

Heather B said...

Amazing the things we can handle when it is happening to our little ones! Great job, mom!

Rory Bore said...

It's a good thing that I do not have a fear of needles because it certainly would not have worked well with the gestational diabetes. numerous finger pricks a day, then the actual insulin injections. 3 C sections, so 3 epidurals.

actually, I am one of those freaky people who HAS to watch. I can NOT look away...I have to see the needle go in, and the blood drawn.
did I just make you faint?
sorry about that.
my middle child is the accident prone one. she's the only one that has required stitches so far.

Miss Megan said...

What an ordeal! You did GREAT momma! And wow, in and out of an urgent care WITH stitches AND back to Cheesecake factory in 30 minutes?! That is nothing short of amazing!!

Glad everyone is okay! And if you find a bubble for a good price, let me know! =).

Johanna at The Baker Twins said...

Poor baby! First stitches are under your belt now, right. I bet you thought Drew would be giving you that experience!

Glad she's ok. And that you survived as well...

Susi K said...

I don't have a fear or phobia of needles or shots but I confess that I have not once looked when someone either gave me or the kids a shot. I always look away! And seeing my children bleed, even from a scraped knee always sends me into a mild panic. Glad to hear she's been a trooper...

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Oh, Melissa...I am so sorry to hear what you and Miss Emily have been through! I don't consider myself phobic about needles...but seeing babies in pain (and BLOOD!) is plenty to make me go weak in the knees.

So very glad to hear she (and you!) took it in stride.

Let me know how the bubble research goes, though...I'll be right behind you! ;)

Beth said...

I am so with you!! I have no stomach for needles, blood, hospital smells... any of it!

Well, mom is practically a synonym for emt. I am pleased to report that so far I have managed to hold it together at least well enough to get my kids medical needs met. I was even able to hold Will while he got 7 stitches over his eye. That was the night I decided the expression 'man up' is stupid. The proper expression should be 'mom up.' Moms just muscle through and do what has to be done. (then we go cry and drink a large glass of wine!)

Your pediatrician actually nicked her chin?!? You showed iron will not screaming at him. Glad you and poor little Em got through it.

Also, that picture of your sweet little girl perched in her seat wearing her hockey jersey? Too cute!!

Tami said...

You did it! You got thru the ordeal while still standing on your two feet!! YAY!!!
As a mother of three boys AND a hockey Mom, I cannot be afraid of needles, stitches or blood. Lucky for me, I am not. I am one of those Mom's who have this calm take over, I focus on the task at hand and block out the distractions around me. (Sorry, I am not trying to rub it in :-D).
I am very glad Emily is okay!! It's heartbreaking to see your child cry and go through something like that!
The way Emily is patching up Daddy it looks like she will be able to handle boo-boos in the future or even become a doctor. ;-)

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