I can understand why a person could become a hypochondriac. During procedures, you are the focus of attention, Mr W_ are you OK, how does that feel, where does it hurt.  These small interactions are like flirtations that make us long for more attention.  The cost, however is too high for my tastes.

I have always hated needles.  Not feared them, hated them.  Although I hate them, I embrace them.  I have given over 5 gallons of blood, but never watched a single needle penetrate my skin. I avert my gaze each and every time.  It violates me, voiding boundaries between the outside world and me, the sacred separation between self and chaos.

Sharon makes me comfortable and smiles warmly at me, only twelve samples, three from each of 4 different nodules.  Don’t show me the needles, I don’t want to view them in any way before, and afterwards, I will look at one.   She smiles and agrees.  The doctor will be in shortly to do the procedure, the needles are off to the side covered.

The doctor arrives, and greets me.  We will give you Novocaine and it won’t hurt at all, you will just feel pressure. Any questions?  I blurt out,  “You haven’t washed your hands”.

He smiles,  “They are clean, and I wear gloves.”

I repeat, “Please wash your hands”.   I can’t control much, but by the heavens above he will wash his hands or I will hold him under the sink myself.  He washes his hands, and we start.

We don’t start, he starts, and I sit still and play pin cushion.  The Novocaine pinches a bit, but he is right, I feel the pressure, little more.  I close my eyes while he talks to me, controling my breathing and with my right hand clench my belt loop.

“Last one, the big one” he tells me.  He pushes harder and grunts under his breath and says “this one’s harder than a baseball”.

I don’t think I wanted to know that. It isn’t reassuring me.  For some reason the Novocaine didn’t make it in this one, and it feels sharp, it hurts like hell.   I regulate my breathing and squeeze the belt loop harder.

“Does that hurt?”

I am done with needles, no more shots.  I tell him it is fine.  Sharon with her black pony tail places her hand on my arm and it comforts me.  He continues, I don’t move or flinch. Take that cancer, feel that, I think to myself and then we are finished.

I sit up, look at the box with the used needles shake my head and return to work.