I faint when I give blood. I actually walk into a blood lab and warn, “Listen, no joke I’m going to faint from fear, so give me someone who knows how to do this, and whatever you do, don’t let me see anything.” If I cut myself, even when it’s bad and I need stitches, I’m never fainthearted about it. But when someone is invading my body and taking what doesn’t belong to them, I cover my head and answer their dumb, “let me get you talking so you don’t notice I can’t find the vein” questions. Then I stop.
“Just tell me when it’s over, and really, don’t let me see anything.” It’s not like I’m trying to see anything; believe me. “No,” I clarify, “I mean afterwards, too. I can’t see the vials or even the band aid.” I want no memory of this, so pull down my sleeve and let me get the hell out.
I remember in college when the nearby hospital thought an infected lymph node of mine was an appendicitis. They wanted to operate. My white blood cell count was up, indicating infection. Three teams examined me, each pulling on my ovaries as if they were turning on a right-hand blinker. They wanted to rule out an ovarian cyst. One doctor asked, “Well are you hungry? I mean do you have any sense of appetite?”
“Well, I’m not hungry, but that’s no indication for me. I mean really, I can always eat.” This is true, I fear. Even if I’m in the bathroom with cramps, fearing I might die and wondering who is listed on my beneficiary forms, I could still eat. When they asked to take more blood, I turned to my mother, “I hate this, and I’m scared. Why do they need more blood?”
“What are you so afraid of?”
“You know I don’t share well. This is MINE, and it’s invasive when they go in there, and the minute I feel or think anything is involuntarily leaving my body, I get sick.”
“Oh stop being such a baby. There are women your age having babies. This is nothing.”
In part, this is why I’d like to have babies soon, because after child delivery, a cervix scrape or blood test will no longer faze me.