Blood tests

Hello everyone,

As I'm in the early stages of taking Methotrexate there are regular blood tests that have to be done. Even though I love watching a good horror film and have no problem at all when it comes to seeing other peoples blood I'm having problems with the blood tests.

Think it all stems from a bad experience when I gave blood years ago and even though I know it's only in my mind I get a real faint, queasy feeling with the needles. Thought I had it sorted until my last but one test when they needed to try twice to get the blood and could feel the needle moving around. Even though last Fridays test was done in one go I felt even worse.

Any advice on how to overcome my fear of needles much appreciated.

Thanks

Mike

12 Replies

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  • Hi Mike. I have had a blood and injury phobia since I was a child. It's partly hereditary - my Dad and his mother were both the same. Over the years I've totally avoided the cinema (having passed out there) and any kind of medical test I could get out of. I couldn't even say the 'B' word as it made me feel faint. When I was diagnosed with RA in May 2013 my biggest worry was not having deformed joints and a long term illness, but how I was going to face the frequent blood tests needed for MTX. I had a dodgy start and passed out with my first test, but I was able to replace that with a good experience at the next appointment with a sympathetic nurse. I always insist on lying flat and tell them why I need to. I tell them I'm best with a small needle (you can't feel it). I do my best to relax and strike up a conversation about the weather or something all the time it's being done. I look away. Never watch. Afterwards stay lying down for a good five minutes and only get up slowly when you know you're OK. And the more I go now the more confident I feel that I'll be OK. Yes, I've had the odd bad one since. Like you, I had a nurse who wiggled the thing around and I was a gonner, but my husband came in with me the next time and I rebuilt my confidence. I did have cognitive behavioural therapy many years ago which helped me some. I think the key is to be honest with the nurse and speak about your phobia so they know, and build on the positive experiences rather than dwelling on the setbacks. I wish you every success. I'm the one who passed out watching Watership Down, so if I can overcome this phobia (at least to the extent I can cope) then I'm confident that you can. Angela. i

  • That's good advise Angela, hope the next one will be a better experience for you mike. I don't mind blood tests. I can't bear steroid injections, I had two in my foot a few months ago and I screamed , it was so painful that I nearly passed out. I promised my self I'm never having one again unless they sedate me. They offered me one for my elbow last week but I said NO WAY ...

  • They used to have trouble taking from me I don't mean because I was worried about it just trouble taking it so they used a threat like thing I can't remember the name the blood came a lot easier... Nothing worse than them trying a few times... Maybe you would find going to the local GP nurses way better than the hospital as it's less stressful in the GP hey x

  • Hi i had the same problem but i have a really good nurse and she uses a butterfly needle that is very fine and i don't feel a thing i can have my bloods taken any time now the fear has gone mind you i don't look!!

    ask for this i hope it will work for you as it did for me good luck Di

  • I loathe blood tests too, can remember passing out before whilst pregnant and causing chaos as they tried to catch me (nurse didn't believe me and my phobia). These days my blood tests are done with me lying down (nowhere to fall lol) and with a very small (child's) needle. I hated the first few I had to have done but slowly I have built up a relationship with the nurses at our GP's surgery. I don't allow any trainee anywhere near me with a needle (they can go and practice on someone else!). Be brave and stand up for yourself, get it done 'your way'. Blood tests only take a few minutes and are very helpful in monitoring your condition.

    Gentle hugs

    Px

  • Hi Mike

    I would recommend cbt. You can get referred through your gp to see a therapist. There may be a bit of a waiting list depending on where you live but would recommend for your problem. Best of luck x

  • Hi Mike, have you thought of hypnotherapy? I would have thought something like this would only need one or two sessions and the therapist can give you a simple exercise to do when your having your bloods done to calm yourself. Or if you know a reflexologist they can show you a little self-help technique that might be enough to get you through. Good luck x

  • I am 59 and very afraid of needles. I squirt my methotrexate in a glass of juice, and that works great for me! My Dr recommended I do it that way, and I have been doing it that way since I started it in Feb. When I get blood work done, I just turn my head and don't look at the needle! I hope this will work for me always.....I hope I hope I hope!

  • Hi baldy beaver, I know exactly how you feel. I've also got a real dread of needles. I used to go dizzy at the thought of an injection and have been known to actually vomit minutes after having a flu jab. When I started on methotrexate and was told I would need regular blood tests I really cringed at the thought. Well now 10 months down the road, I must admit to getting more used to needles. I still don't like the thought of them but due to the circumstances, have come to accept the fact that I have no choice, no blood tests means no medication which in turn means excruciating pain, so I try to look and act brave and smile when the vampire starts to work on me. I even spoke to the doctor civilly this year when I had the flu jab. I don't know who was most surprised, him or me. Anyway good luck baldy beaver, keep smiling.

  • Hello and thanks for the great advice. This forum is the best for getting good suggestions from friendly members.

    I never look at the needle and face the other way whilst talking absolute twaddle about anything that comes to mind to try and take my mind off it but thanks for mentioning it Angela. Last Friday he used a small needle as he remembered from two weeks earlier. I'm usually fine after a few minutes and eat a small breakfast bar and have a drink.

    Strangely I have absolutely no problem with injections and had a flu jab and pneumovax after the blood test two weeks ago. Felt a bit like a pin cushion after four needles.

    I'll definitely look into the cbt and hypnotherapy as have to see my GP this week to stock up on MTX. Like you said mistymeana it will hopefully only take a couple of tries to get over it. Will also try lying down next time.

    Hope everyone has a great week and the aches and pains are minimal.

    Mike

  • My 33 year old son tends to faint flamboyantly - very alarming, like a fit - at the sight of blood, at the sight of needles, during injections, when he has a hangover etc. He travels a fair bit so often needs vaccinations. I ran your question past him & he said he always lies down for injections or blood tests now. And also that the staff are usually at pains to reassure him that the most manly men (rugby players often get a mention) are the most likely people to faint clean away .....

  • Hello Postle2,

    Thanks for asking your son about it and I'll see if I can lie down next time. Really like the wording of your post.

    Mike

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