Mia is afraid of needles. She has been talking about how scared she is to get her blood drawn ever since we left the doctor’s office yesterday. I tried to take her to the lab right after her appointment so that we could get it done and out of the way, but she had to be fasting, so we had to put it off until this morning. She talked about how scared she was all evening. Last night before bed, she was near tears in anticipation of being poked with the needle this morning.
I think that there is a lot of fear in the unknown. So I described to Mia the whole procedure and told her about when I’ve had to take a person’s blood when I was working and how I did it. She asked me why they had to take her blood when it was her eye that was the problem. (Really good question!) So I explained that they needed to figure out why her eye was causing problems and that checking her blood would help give the doctor’s some answers about what is going on in her body. She asked if they’d give her blood back when they were done. I told her that they would just throw it away because they can’t put it back in, but that her body would make more blood. She was still nervous, but I think it helped her to know what to expect and why it needed to be done. She asked if she could bring her stuffed unicorn with her. Who could say no to that?
We went to the lab this morning. Of course, the patient ahead of Mia was another little girl named Mia who also had to have blood drawn. We waited in the waiting room for our Mia’s turn. Then the screaming began… The little girl ahead of our Mia was screaming before they even did anything. She screamed when they tried to put the tourniquet on her arm. She screamed when they took it off. She wouldn’t let them get near her with the needle. She screamed and yelled, “what will it feel like? how much will it hurt? No! I’m not ready!” I was worried that my Mia was going to lose it after witnessing that. Now it was Mia’s turn. We walked by the cubicle with the screaming child and on to the opposite side of the room. Each blood drawing station is only separated by a curtain and a cubicle wall. You could still hear the screaming and crying. Mia sat in the chair to get her blood drawn. She looked so nervous! I just smiled and showed her the lollipop that awaited her when she was done. I showed her the rubber band tourniquet that would “hug” her arm so that the man could find the best place to get her blood from. He put the tourniquet on. Mia giggled at the idea of a rubber band “hug”. The phlebotomist decided on a hand vein, and he showed her the cool needle he was going to use. She liked that it was called a “butterfly” needle. After cleaning with the alcohol wipe, he poked her hand. I was ready for the crying. She looked at me like she might cry and reached for my hand with her free hand. I held her hand. I told her that her lollipop wrapper was pink and I asked her what flavor she thought it might be. She said, “Raspberry.” I told her she might be right and that she would find out soon. Then I told her that she was doing great and that the hard part was over since the needle was already in. She relaxed a little. The phlebotomist asked her about her unicorn (who was watching from a nearby table). He asked her if she liked “My Little Pony”. She told him that she watches it AND that her big brother is a “Brony” (a boy who watches MLP). He laughed. She giggled. About 5 tubes of blood later, he took the needle out. She picked out a new hippo friend (she named him Pippo) from their basket of little stuffed animals for being so good.
She wasn’t done yet. She still had to do another test that involved a needle just under the surface of the skin in her other arm. She looked like she was going to cry again when I told her she had one more poke to sit through. I asked her if she wanted to watch unicorn and hippo play “I Spy” while he did the next test. She smiled at the idea. So I put on a puppet show. He poked her, and it was done, just like that.
No tears! She told me that she was scared and she wanted to cry, but when he poked her, she realized that it didn’t really hurt that much. Brave girl. She and I prayed for God to give her courage and strength even though she was so scared and I definitely think those prayers were answered. 🙂