Crohn’s Disease Has Made Me Very Comfortable With Needles

When I was a young kid, I was terrified of needles. I used to invent excuses not to have to visit my doctor.

This was largely because he always seemed to stick me with a giant needle, most often in an effort to vaccinate me for an illness that seemed remote enough to be in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel: mumps, tetanus, rubella, polio, cholera, etc.

It may have been for my own benefit, sure, but at 5 years old this sort of logic doesn’t apply. All you can focus on is the huge sharp object about to plunge into your bicep. The way he tapped the needle, too, was intimidating. It probably didn’t help, either, that as he was getting it ready, he’d look at you with what appeared to be a tinge of sadism (or so I imagined).

Cut to almost 40 years later and I have a whole new orientation to needles. They don't intimidate me like they once did. I’m totally at peace with them.

I got used to getting pricked

True, I never loved it when admitted to the hospital and the nurse visits twice a day to draw blood. This was particularly because they often stabbed me with a needle in the middle of the night. Who wants to be roused from sleep to get your blood taken by what might as well be a vampire?

Still, after all these years with Crohn's, needles now seem a relatively minor nuisance. I don’t mind going to Quest labs to get my blood drawn or getting a flu shot, for example.

Indeed, for the past few years, I've been taking a biologic that I inject into my abdomen or thigh every two weeks.

Always needin' needles: my injection routine

I tap the needle like my doctor once did. Remove the air bubbles. Let a bit of fluid escape near the tip. Apply rubbing alcohol to the injection site in my thigh or abdomen. Then I inject myself in the designated spot before wiping myself clean with a cotton ball and disposing of the needle in a sharps container.

It’s all become fairly routine. It’s also a pretty quick process that now seems kind of second nature. What once horrified me now seems rather humdrum. Indeed, it is almost no different to me than checking emails or flossing my teeth.

Without Crohn's disease, which I’ve had for over 30 years, this never would have been possible.

Crohn's sure can change your perspective

Actually, I generally look forward to the process of injecting myself with a large needle, since after doing so I often feel better. Yes, what I once dreaded now is often my favorite part of the week.

I guess, then, it’s not all bad having Crohn’s disease. There are hidden rewards.

Crohn’s disease helped me become less prissy about needles, more able to take matters in stride. I’m also happier and more fulfilled now, in general, since other similarly foolish fears no longer seem so intimidating.

Can you think of any ways Crohn's helped you overcome a fear? Grow or evolve? Altered your perspective? Was this evolution in your character meaningful to you? Why or why not?

Thanks for reading, and as always, I look forward to reading your responses below.

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