I have not shared this before, but I have a phobia. The free dictionary defines a phobia as "A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous." In my case, I have a needle phobia. I've had this phobia for as long as I can remember. This phobia played a huge part in my decision to choose natural childbirth - twice.
I manage it though. When I need bloodwork or a shot, I don't say no. I try to prepare the nurse ahead of time. I explain, through tears, that I am going to get upset. I will need to sit in a corner. I am going to try to pull away several times. I won't faint. "The key part," I tell them, "is that I won't try to pull away once the needle is in. I'm too petrified by then." I have to tell them that last part or they freak out. The entire experience is humiliating every time. But I do it because I refuse to let this phobia make important health decisions for me.
Last week I was sick and my doctor wanted to run some bloodwork. The extremely nice nurse I had been working with throughout my visit freaked out and left me in the midst of a panic attack to go get someone else to draw my blood. I'm pretty sure that is the first time I've actually scared someone off. She came back in with another nurse that she introduced simply as the office expert in blood draws.
I wasn't completely listening at that point. I really just wanted to get it done, but I nodded assent. This woman came over to me and told me, "Now, if you're going to behave like a child I'm going to treat you like a child and hold you down." Somewhere in the back of my not entirely rational mind I was pretty pissed, but I certainly wasn't able to articulate anything at that moment. She made the other nurse hold my arm down at the wrist and elbow while she used her body to restrain my torso. Then they drew my blood.
Being restrained pretty much against my will at a time I wasn't able to even articulate a protest contributed further to my sense of panic. To be honest, I felt somewhat violated and was left with a lingering sense of extreme dislike for that nurse. I gathered my things and left as soon as possible.
My husband wanted to call the office and lodge a complaint. My mother suggested I write a letter to the physician. I would feel bad about that. I don't hold grudges. I don't want a negative letter to be put in her permanent file or anything. Nevertheless, the incident lingers in my mind and I've been trying to put my finger on what exactly it was that I couldn't let go.
Then I figured it out. She said, "If you're going to behave like a child, I'm going to treat you like a child..." That is not how you treat a child. And it is certainly not how you treat an adult. No person deserves to be treated that way. If anyone had tried to handle my child in that manner I wouldn't have permitted it and I probably would have complained to someone in charge. Why won't I apply that same logic to myself?