The Final Countdown

Living with a disease like psoriatic arthritis forces a person to deal with things that make them uncomfortable. For me, one of those things was getting used to having my blood drawn every time I saw a doctor. I despise needles and would become anxious each time I scheduled an appointment. Already a nervous wreck, my body would tense even more as the nurse or tech began counting down to the moment they were going to insert the needle. The extra stress and tension increased my pain level and recovery time. It also made it harder for the person taking my blood to do their job. I tried closing my eyes and/or thinking about something else, but nothing helped.

Omitting the countdown

It took one tech forgetting part of their routine for me to discover what would make having my blood drawn a more pleasant experience. While waiting for her to start counting down, I looked away and sent my brain to my happy place. To my surprise instead of hearing “three, two, one”, I heard “We’re all done”. I never felt the needle go in! Thinking that it may have just been that the tech was a blood drawing super hero, I decided to put my theory of not hearing the countdown to the test by requesting all nurses and techs to omit the countdown.

Since then I haven’t had an issue with being poked with needles. I no longer feel anxious, faint, or tense. Not all techs or nurses are as fabulous as the one mentioned above, but because I am relaxed, any pain I feel is minimal compared to what I felt before. Occasionally I will have a nurse tell me that it bothers them to not countdown because it throws them off of their routine. I suggest that they either countdown silently or find me someone else who is willing to work with me.

My conditions force me to live with pain 24/7, so why should I endure more pain than necessary? Do you tense up when having your blood drawn? What could be done differently to make the experience less painful or stressful?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (1)
  • Jaime Lyn Moy
    12 months ago

    Due to my son’s juvenile psoriatic arthritis, he’s had his blood drawn consistently since age 6. He had great phlebotomists and poor ones. When he was 8, he started quizzing them before getting his blood drawn: How much experience do you have? You will use the butterfly needle, right? You get 2 tries to get my vein. If you can’t get my blood, I want someone else to do it. It was rather comical coming from an 8 year old, but I was proud how he advocated for his health at such a young age.

  • Poll