7 August 2011

Pins & Needles


The last two weeks I’ve been falling apart. My pain levels are up, my anxiety has a hair trigger and I feel like I’m trapped in skin a size too small; and I’ve got a fairly good idea why. Tuesday I’m off for a thyroid scan where they pump you full of radioactive material and take an x-ray of your neck. (I’m hoping I gain radioactive super-powers!) The problem is that they get all that radioactive goodness into you with a needle. I know it’s not a big deal; in fact I’ve had the same test done before when they wanted to check my kidneys for stones. I’m even better about needles then I was then; I mean I’ve had eleven blood tests already this year. It’s never pleasant, but I get through it without too much drama.

The problem is that last test I had done six years ago. Apparently my veins are small and tend to roll, which makes the whole process that tiny bit trickier. I was nervous and cold and laid on a hard x-ray table while the doctor attempted to inject the iodine. I locked my joints so I couldn’t flinch, but she still missed the vein. She turned to me and snapped

“You need to relax you’re making this harder for you and me!”

Not exactly the best thing to say to someone with social anxiety and a needle phobia. What exactly was I suppose to do about it? She filled a rubber glove with hot water and directed MrG to hold it against my arm to bring up the veins while she disappeared off somewhere. Luckily on the second attempt she hit the target and the worst was over.

Tuesday I’m having the same test, but I can’t have anyone with me for moral support. After the kidney stone test I came up in red itchy blotches and now the doctors won’t come near me with iodine. So this time they’re using technetium, which means I’ll be radioactive for several hours and they don’t want to expose anyone else. (After the test I’ll need to sit in the waiting room for four hours till I’m safe to release.) I understand the concern, but as someone who’s been bullied by doctors and specifically has anxiety attacks around people in authority – this has left me really concerned. I was going to go in and talk to my GP about it, but she was on holiday last week and only works Wednesday to Friday.

It looks like there’s nothing I can do but wait and hope that my fears are unfounded, assuming I don't meltdown from the stress.