Quote of the Day:

“As a child I was more afraid of tetanus shots than, for example, Dracula.” –Dave Barry

I cannot recall the first time I had to get a shot. I do recall the screams of terror emanating from the business side of the always crowded, crummy Bible storybook and crumbling Highlight magazine-filled waiting room door in Dr. Kaluz’ Pascagoula office. Five year old TB was pretty sure at the time those screams were caused by shots being needlessly, malevolently inflicted on other innocent kids, and that my moment as the bulls eye was approaching. As I reflect on my general terror of things doctor related, I’m pretty sure the ultimate cause of my fear boils down to needles. Maybe scalpels too, but my only real familiarity with those frightening implements is from MASH. Maybe drills too, but that’s dentistry and a whole nuther category. So, yes, my terror of health professionals pretty much has to do with a trembling fear of their damned dubious penchant for needle wielding. Yet today, I submit myself willingly to the torture.

While I can’t recall the shots of early childhood, I vividly recall a couple from my teenage years that served to confirm these fears were well placed even if the basis of them was long forgotten. Pascagoula Junior High in 1984 was victimized by vandalizing pranksters. They broke into the school in the dead of night and unleashed all of the emergency fire hoses, flooding the school. This was true greatness and the pranksters were never caught. I have no idea who did it. But I digress. In spite of the admiration I still carry for a deed well executed, this vignette is imprinted in memory for a different reason, one involving a needle.

Because of the flood the carpet was removed from the whole school and a relatively flat concrete surface was exposed. Onto this surface some other prankster hellbound sadist had torn off a pencil eraser from a two-inch long number 2 stub, sharpened the point and left it sitting on the floor near my desk in Mrs. McDevitt’s room. I finished an exam, first in the class as I recall, and I triumphantly rose and headed for the teacher’s desk to turn in my work. In route I stepped on the pencil. The sharpened lead pierced my treasured canvas Nikes, entered my heel with the impetus of my full weight, and snapped off about a quarter inch inside, causing me a certain measure of pain. Within the hour I was sitting in the emergency room awaiting its extraction with my sister who was reluctantly forced to take action as guardian due to the absence for the day of our folks. Within another four hours I was relieved of the intruding lead, but not before a needle was shoved in alongside. I am forever thankful it was my sis and not my Mother who heard what spewed forth from my heretofore (mostly) innocent tongue. Even if you are brave, my friends, you do not want a long needle stuck in your heel. Much less two–one for tetanus and one to kill the pain that I guess came from a scalpel next–I don’t recall that part, must’ve fainted.

When I was eighteen I subjected myself to another needle that will go down in infamy. A shoulder injury was evident but the cause and treatment of the injury could not be settled on by any of the local doctors. Left with no idea what to do I suppose, one of the docs decided to treat the pain with a cortizone shot. This sounded pretty good to me as I had heard of football players getting these shots to be able to play with injuries and I figured it must not be too bad and was probably worth it to get my mojo back. I began to doubt the cost-benefit analysis when that bastard pulled out his needle. I swear to God if it was an inch it was a foot long and squared off at its tip, it would’ve made an Inquisitor flinch. I looked away in resignation and held hands with, this time sadly, my Mother, and braced for impact. When he stuck me I clenched her hand and uttered obscenities that would’ve cowered the Diceman and made even Bob Saget blush with shame. I recall Mother’s words as I crushed her feeble metacarpals, “letgo-letgo-letgo-letgo”. I did let go, though she can no longer open doors with the injured hand, much less twist open a jar of mayonnaise. Cortizone shots–I can only shudder. Months later I heard my Mother telling the tale to her sisters. I had assumed her own pain had blocked out the elaborately woven tapestry of profanity from her delicate ears, but learned  in my eavesdropping this was not the case. For a moment I was aghast that she knew now the capabilities and depth of my inner depravity, but breathed a sigh of relief when I heard “you should’ve seen that needle, I couldn’t blame him.”

So its off to the flu shot I go. We have to get two of them this year. The good news is, the flu needle is pretty small and if given well you can’t even feel the shot. The bad news is I’m scarred for life on needles. Hmm, “scared” for life would work there too. Oh well, I’m pretty scared of the flu too.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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22 Responses to Needles

  1. real larry says:

    I have had three cortizone shots over the past year in my shoulder and it will bring tears to your eyes.

  2. theprettyproject says:

    This is easily one of the funniest things I’ve read in the last several months. You are hysterical! 🙂

  3. Madd Dawg says:

    I am disappointed that you have fallen prey to this scam. There are about 424 strains of the flu, and the anually-developed flu shot only protects against some of them—sometimes. See article from last year.
    Flu Shots Target Wrong Strain But Still Worth Having Says CDC
    Article Date: 11 Feb 2008 – 12:00 PDT
    As the flu season gets into full swing across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that while this year’s shots do not match all of the major circulating types of flu, they are still worth having because as a minimum, they lessen the severity of the illness and protect against serious potential complications.
    Bonus analysis on needles:

    Doc: “Ok now, you are going to feel a little prick.”

    Patient: “But Doc, I hardly know ya!!!”

  4. spuriousme says:

    That was funny.. sorry about your fear of needles, though.. I was never scared of them..but your “scar(e)” is understandable..

  5. Jessie Lou says:

    I always got a shot and a spanking in my much younger days. I was scared to death of the needle and my mother recently told me it took her plus 2 nurses to hold me down and then I would still jump upon impact. Then on the way to the car or in the car (or both) I would get the inevitable spanking (sometimes over the seat). On one of those trips down Hospital Road I was getting the spanking over the backseat and someone rear ended us. I think I got an additional spanking as a stress reliever for my dear mother who was undoubtedly over the edge by then. And I digress. I’ve been getting flu shots since 1996 I believe. I had the flu so bad one year that I have slim to no recollection of Christmas. One of your other commentors got it not long after that and I think his memory will be similar. It was bad and made the shot look pretty good to me. I’ve been getting them since. Got mine at Walgreens a few weeks ago and that girl gave the best shot ever. Didn’t feel a thing. It was over in seconds whereas the flu will kill alot more time and sometimes you in the process. Or at least make you think you might be dying. And MD = I’ve not gotten the flu since. I’ll take my chances with the shot.

  6. Larry, God Bless. I am sure you handled it in a fashion more suitable for manhood than TB. Hope you don’t need any more too.

    JLou, the visual of a young hell raisin redhead in the unbuckled backseat of a 1960’s era Hospital Road is priceless.

    ^ ^

    Spurious and PP, thanks for stopping by and commenting and please come back any time. I note that Spurious is just up and running and has a little philosophy theme going on, very nice. PP, your project idea is fascinating, and I’ll be keeping up.

  7. Jessie Lou says:

    To complete the picture the car was probably a 1970 Navy Blue Pontiac Bonneville. She hated the car too that day. We still laugh about that day.

  8. quail09 says:

    I’ve seen the needle and the damage done

    a little part of it in everyone

    but ever junkie’s like a settin sun…..NY

  9. Zeek says:

    Just a little pin prick… There’ll be no more AAAGGGHHHAAAGGGHHH!!!…. But you may feel a little sick…. There is no pain you are receiving… I have become …COMFORTABLY NUMB!!!—Pink Floyd

    TB– Are you sure those were not canvas “Ponys” that were pierced by the pencil??

  10. Mike says:

    I remember youth injections into my buttocks, and the nurses holding me down as I kicked and screamed, feeling the muscle tear as then forced the needle into the tight muscle, I now basically pass out after any shot or needle, I can watch – but, I tell everyone – you better put me in a chair than I can’t fall out of ’cause I’m going to pass out after the shot, and at 6’6″ 280 lbs, I don’t see a nurse catching me – nevermind getting me up of the floor. Nice article – I enjoyed reading that I’m not the only one … lol

  11. larry says:

    Handled it much the same way as you. A lot of moaning and a lot of cursing. I will have to say for about a month my shoulder does not hurt, but it always comes back. By the way, I sustained the injury pitching underhand coach pitch girls softball. All those years of playing ball and no arm troubles, then one year of girls softball and I am on the shelf. I am getting old!!!

  12. Madd Dawg says:

    Nice lyrics Zeek. How about these:

    I hurt myself today
    To see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain
    The only thing that’s real
    The needle tears a hole
    The old familiar sting
    Try to kill it all away
    But I remember everything

    Nine Inch Nails–Hurt (great tune)

  13. Samsmama says:

    Shots don’t bother me at all. What killed me was having to hold Sam down while he got 3 shots at his 5 year appt. The look of pain on his face and bewilderment as to why I was assisting the nurse in his torture was horrible! Cut to me taking him to McDonald’s then 2 different parks.

    Poor Jessie…shots AND a spanking? Now that just ain’t right.

    • Angelic says:

      Cami these are wonderful!! I can’t wait to see the rest! I have a feeilng I’m going to get myself in trouble when it comes to picking out the ones I want. Thank you soooo much!

    • Andi says:

      Does anyone know what kind of brtchies the gentleman in the red cap is wearing? Third from last picture and they look like the same pants in the last pic too. Are they Levi’s?

    • Angiie says:

      Dies ist kein grodfes Gesche4ft –> It is no big deal. I know. But from the way the original English steennce has been translated into German, I can straight away say that it’s machine translation. No problem Vajra, as long as one does not end up with “Out of sight, out of mind” being translated as “invisible idiot”!Regards,Dondu N.Raghavan

    • I’m out of league here. Too much brain power on display!

  14. Jessie Lou says:

    I am pretty sure my behavior was spanking worthy. My mother could rule us with an eyebrow raise but that didn’t faze me when it was shot time. The needle freaked me out way more than the eyebrow or the impending butt whipping with the hand or flip flop.

    SM- Cut to Irvine Redd at the age of 5. I took him to get his 2 shots prior to starting school. The nurse had him hug me and look over my right shoulder while she got one arm and then switch to the other shoulder and got the other arm. Pissed does not begin to describe IR at that moment. I can still see him in the rearview mirror chewing me out. All I could say was that he would not need another shot for 10 more years. It did little to help his feelings – God bless his little heart.

  15. quail09 says:

    I hit the city and i lost my band

    I watched the needle take another man

    Gone, gone the damage done…..N. Young

  16. Harmony says:

    For the longest time, I feared shots also. Like Jessie Lou I caused my parents much grief whenever a shot was due…and was handled appropiately. Somehow I did manage to give blood on a regular basis despite my fear. As long as there was no counting involved, that is. Why do they count? I don’t want to know exactly when a needle is going to pierce my skin..just do it. Then I did some medical assisting courses where we had to practice giving shots to each other..that pretty much cleared me of my shot phobia. However, I certainly hope that I never endure the pain of a cortizone that sounded dreadful. *shudder*

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