There's really nothing like a sibling relationship to reveal how petty and self involved you are. My brother has had a rough battle with thyroid cancer, so I had to get checked out, and when the doctor found a nodule on my thyroid, I had to make an appointment for a biopsy. That appointment has been on the horizon for a few months, but, somehow, miraculously, I avoided thinking about it until the nurse called me back for the procedure. Then the nurse announced that
1. There would be no pain medication - not even topical anesthetic - because the pain from the skin puncture was negligible compared to the pain of jabbing a needle into my thyroid.2. The doctor would need to stab me in the neck (maybe she didn't use those exact words) at least three, possibly five separate times.
Suddenly I realized that
1. This was actually a nightmare scenario for a number of reasons.2. Having a sibling with cancer is really annoying.*
When I get blood drawn, I come close to hyperventilating. I can't look at any of the equipment. During my last pregnancy, the nurse drawing my blood noticed my distress and asked sympathetically, "Oh, this is your first pregnancy?" I had to admit sheepishly that it was my sixth. (Pause here for a moment and imagine those last few days of my pregnancy with Bryan when I knew he was breech and I'd have to have a C-section. I requested an ultrasound in the operating room just to make sure he hadn't flipped over at the last second. I asked for a sedative. Doctor: We don't like newborns to be sedated when they're first learning to breathe.) Couple this irrational fear of needles with the fact that I think necks are gross. There are veins and collar bones sticking out and...ick. After this whole ordeal I even got a little nauseous pulling the bandaid off my neck.
So, these realities came together for me as I was lying on the table. I wasn't sympathizing with my poor brother, who has had a couple of hairy surgeries and a very difficult recovery. I was thinking, "I'm 35. He's 33, and he still annoys me." It actually didn't hurt at all, but the grossness of the situation undid me. I sat up afterward and started to black out. The room started to darken. The doctor sounded like she was at the other end of a tunnel. They had to give me juice and crackers - to recover from the psychological damage of a medical procedure that hurt less than a blood draw. Ridiculous!
* John is doing much better.
** The official results aren't in, but the doctor is 99.9% sure that my nodule is not cancer.