When Tetanus Is Better Than The Cure

, , , , | Healthy | January 21, 2018

(My mother has a really bad needle phobia. She’s tried therapy for it, but still has panic attacks and worse reactions when she needs shots or blood draws. The people at our old clinic knew about it, but when we move, she has to see a new doctor, and needs her tetanus booster shot.)

Mom: “I have a pretty bad needle phobia.”

Doctor: “That’s fine; lots of people do.”

Mom: “No, I mean really bad. When I see the needle, I’m going to pass out. I’m going to jerk around; one doctor said it looked like I had a seizure. I need you to listen to me. Give me the shot while I’m unconscious. If you need me to sign something giving permission, I’ll do that, but you need to give me that the first time I pass out, because I really don’t want to have to do it twice.”

Doctor: “I’m sure it will be fine. Just don’t look at the needle.”

Mom: “No, that doesn’t work. Just knowing that I’m going to get a shot is enough to trigger a reaction. My doctor said she left a note in my file. Can you look? I’m serious; this is going to be a severe reaction.”

Doctor: “Okay, okay, I hear you.”

Mom: “All right.”

(He pulls out the needle, my mom passes out, and she comes to a few minutes later, with the doctor and a nurse standing over her, trying to bring her around. She tries to sit up.)

Doctor: “Don’t move; you had a seizure!”

Mom: “No, no, I told you: that’s just part of my reaction. I didn’t actually have a seizure.”

Doctor: “You passed out! You were having a seizure!”

Mom: “No, I wasn’t! I told you: this is what happens when I get shots. I’ll be fine in a minute.”

(She starts to move, then notices that there’s no bandage on her arm.)

Mom: “Did you give me the shot?”

Doctor: “No! You were having a seizure! I can’t give you a shot while you’re unconscious!”

Mom: “But I told you to!”

Doctor: “Look, I think we should run some tests to make sure you’re okay. If you are, I’ll give you the shot then.”

Mom: “You know, I think I’ll take my chances with the tetanus.”

(She went to another doctor, who not only listened to her, but gave her a mild sedative, and has since provided her with one whenever she needs blood-work or shots.)

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