PTSD at the blood draw
Every time I'm called to do blood work at my transplant clinic, I'm secretly excited while also scared.
It's an odd “dual feeling” - as a competitive individual, I crave rankings and numbers of all kinds, like:
- listing me against the norm
- explaining symptoms I may have
- and reading more about the possible reasons why some values may be up or down.
So I do crave getting the results back.
In fact, before patient portals were available, I would be that patient who terrorized the assistants and doctors to get my results back asap just to analyze the numbers myself and study them versus previous data.
However, the moment I sit down in the chair for Venopuncture, my mind is lost and my emotions are raw.
I start freezing and shaking, and often tears fall.
I'm reminded of my status as a chronic patient with a severe condition and I'm brought back to several other situations where I was sick and hospitalized. Memories of my diagnosis at 16 with T1D, my transplants, my pacemaker surgery and the times I had a difficult infection...
I guess this is what people call PTSD - and I have tried to combat it by talking to the phlebotomist, thinking about other things, or studying my phone.
But nothing helps.
These PTSD emotions last only a few moments, but they scar me for the rest of the day.
What do YOU think about in these situations to distract your mind and focus on the positive?