nurse readying syringe
Mike San, Unsplash

Some still hurt. Dozens are still visible. They are smallish scars, the left-behinds of almost a hundred injections I got while at the hospital.

I say this not because of any type of bravado inherent in my condition, but I don’t fear needles. I actually get pretty fascinated whenever I experience invasive medical procedures such as injections. I think I’m a pretty lively patient; I dare say I can be one enjoyable patient.

I always chit chat with nurses while they are plunging in the needles. I think it makes them rather at ease. A five-foot nurse must feel some fear and tension while trying to inject a needle into a six-foot three-hundred lbs plus ox of a man. Not that I would, but I could have easily knocked back at least ten feet some of the spindly smallish nurses that attended me.

So, I do the chit-chat. The nurse feels more comfortable with me. And the needle eases its way with less pain and less strain for me.

But this time was different. Maybe my body knew something. It just wasn’t cooperating. The nurses had to try here and there to get a little blood. Sometimes the veins gave away nothing. My “let’s-get-it-done” attitude towards needles faltered. But needles I got, hoards of them. Arms, forearms, fingers, belly, buttocks; I even got a catheterism. I think you could consider the catheter as being a long needle that runs through the arteries and into your heart.

It was hard. Not the hardest thing ever. But hard enough that it can get you down when you sum it up with a life threatening illness. But I carried on with the nice greeting, the compliments to the hair or the perfume. And the nurses beamed, grinned, smiled and treated me right. Beyond professionalism, I tried to bond, and most of the nurses responded.

And when the fateful day came, when I woke up with the strange pain in my chest that is changing my life forever the nurses noticed. At day-breaking they always came down together with the head nurse to tell me which one will be “in-charge” of me. And when that day I didn’t smile or try to slyly flatter them they asked me right away if something was wrong.

And wrong it was…

I don’t fear a great many things. I think my lack of beliefs in a punishing god, angry aliens or mischievous poltergeists help a lot with that. I don’t fear for my soul, because I don’t know for certain that I got one (not knowing doesn’t bother me, by the way). And as I said I don’t fear the needle, nor the scalpel for that matter.

The, very human, hand that drives the needle… That’s another matter entirely. And it pays for it to be on your side…

always wearing my scars with pride