I took the kids swimming with a friend of mine Monday and somehow managed to step on a nail in the pool, but luckily I have bones in my feet and that stopped the nail from going right through, because, wow. I told the lifeguard and he said "you did?" and just sat there...so I said "you think maybe you want to try and find it before someone else does?" So he scanned the pool until I limped by and then sat back down and continued letting people land right in the spot where the nail pierced my foot. It was gross, still makes me tense thinking about a nail going through my foot.
And then I remembered that I passed on my tetnus shot the last time she offered saying "I can get that IF something were to happen and still be good, can't I?"
Yep...for 48 hours. So I called yesterday just to make sure I needed the shot, and the last they have on record for me was in 1988...but I know I had one since then. I went in for it anyhow, and as soon as I made concrete plans to meet my mom there my stomach knotted and my body tensed. From there it went downhill. Everything the kids said agitated me and I just wanted them to stop asking me questions so I could breathe. The drive there was torture. No matter how I try NOT to think about needles piercing my skin, I keep seeing it puncture my bicep over and over. My foot throbs, and I think of the nail going through my foot and stopping when it hits the bone. I get nauseous. I break out in a cold sweat. I can't stop the scene with the needle going into my arm and then nail going into my foot. I focus on driving and we finally make it to the clinic. My stomach rolls. My stomach flips. My mom pulls in and I want to cry. I sit in my seat until the last minute when she comes to sit where I am sitting and watch the kids so I can get my shot in peace, without having to worry about freaking out in front of my kids. I walk in, knees weak. I'm shaking and still feel like I could throw up at any second. "Can I help you..?" the receptionist asks finally...I was waiting that one out, not voluntarily announcing I had come in for a tetnus shot. It takes forever for their machine to process my insurance card and I am getting more agitated with the dumb thing because now I just want this to be over. Finally she ushers me into the waiting room and I see a dirty man get up and leave his seat. I make an effort not to sit in his spot, and then sit in a chair with my eyes closed, swallowing and swallowing the heaves that want to make their way up my throat. Under my closed eyelids, everything is blinding white. I am focused on not throwing up, but I think at any second I am going to spew all over the waiting room, how unlady like. Just then, I hear my name. My stomach flips and drops and I stand up and try not to stagger. My knees are weak, and I try to focus on answering the questions the nurse has for me, but it's really hard because the fear of the needle really hinders coherent thoughts. She has me sit and says she'll be right back. I put my head down, I think I might pass out. She returns and gives me the vaccination sheet, and has me sign something. As I go to sign it, I see the shot with this huge needle in my line of vision and look away. I try to sign without seeing the orange syringe in my peripheral. She asks which arm. It doesn't matter, I say...which would you suggest? She says if it were her, she'd do the non-dominant arm, and good thing because every time I move that arm, I get a reminder of this whole awful ordeal. She asks me if I'm okay and I say no. "What?... did you say no?" "I'm going to need some time when it's done...just give me some time." She asks if I'm not good with shots and I say no, but I'm thinking "what was your first clue?" She suggests I get up on the exam table and lay down, that way they don't have to worry about picking me back up. I stand up and my legs feel like rubber. I shakily climb up and lay down, arm covering my eyes and then a tear runs down each cheek. Stop that, I think to myself, but it's not really a choice. I take deep breaths and wait, but she has to get another alcohol wipe because I may have collected germs walking from the chair to the table. Finally, she says "a little poke" and I brace myself. She tells me to try to relax, and she is very good at her job. I still don't like it, but it's over in a matter of seconds. She tells me to take as much time as I need and tells me if I don't come out within a few minutes, she'll come back to check on me. She exits. I can feel the shot flow into my body, and I think I might pass out. I hate that heavy feeling, like I couldn't lift my arm. It feels like dead weight. Breathe. My fingers tingle and go a little numb. Breathe. Here I go, I'm passing out. Breathe. breathe. breathe. The heaviness lifts and I wiggle my fingers. I feel queasy, but I sit up and feel blood rush to my cheeks. I stand on wobbly knees and step down. I know I am staggering a little, but I try my best to keep it unnoticeable. As I walk out, my nurse asks if I'm okay, and I tell her I am and thank her on my way out. She's very good at her job. I breathe fresh air as deep into my lungs as I can and walk back to the van where my mom asks how it went. "oh, it went" I say. Relief that it's finally over floods me and we head to Walmart for some things. I'm mostly okay for the rest of the day unless I bump the place where the needle went in. And so it goes, almost the exact way every time.