I just received my second dose of the COVID vaccine, so I am protected against Covid as of two weeks from now. These shots are an enormous milestone for me for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is because of my needle phobia. It is not a fear where looking away while it happens is enough. I have suffered panic attacks, fainting spells, dangerously low blood pressure, and persistent nausea when exposed to needles.
My workplace did the bloodwork screening for free onsite. That one where a nurse pricks your finger for a toothpick amount of blood to check your basic numbers. I tried to go two years in a row when it was mandatory for insurance reasons. Both times I ended up waking up on the cafeteria floor.
It is a frightening experience in that moment of waking. I cannot remember where I am or how I got there. Strangers surround and hover over me, speaking to each other and asking me questions. Others linger in the background to catch a peek at the excitement. It only takes a moment for my memory to return. In that time, I freeze and wrack my brain for how to react before it starts coming back.
I found it was not even exposure to actual needles that could trigger such a reaction. In a pre-op consultation, my doctor sat with me to explain the procedure and the IV I would have during the operation. I felt feverish. My vision narrowed, whiting out from the perimeter toward the center. I passed out in the chair, hitting my face on the counter next to me on the way down.
I have worked with a counselor to steadily take steps to bring this from a phobia down to a reasonable fear. It has taken me many years to arrive at this stage. Last fall, I got the flu shot and barely managed to avoid unconsciousness. This year I have had two Covid vaccinations and made it out of both only feeling a little woozy (thank you Husband for being my driver!).
Showing off my band aid and sticker.
The second reason this is an important milestone for me is that I have a handful of people in my life, very close to me, who are at higher risk of dying from Covid. Some of them are young, some are old, but each has a factor placing them at risk. I could not have predicted a need to vaccinate against a pandemic all those years ago when I sought help to address my phobia. Today, I am immensely grateful I took action then so that I could take action now to protect the people I love.
Stay safe everyone!