Getting Used to Blood Tests
Last updated: January 2022
Before I got sick, I would get blood tests done twice a year. Just to make sure I wasn’t deficient in anything. Usually, I was deficient in iron. I used to dread these appointments. I used to hate needles and the thought of blood. I am very squeamish, if I see blood I faint. So, even though I would never look during a blood test, I would still always faint.
Now I get blood tests every 2-3 months, sometimes more often. I still dread these appointments, but nothing like before. I’m used to needles. I inject myself every two weeks. It’s the blood that I can’t get used to. Fortunately, I do not faint anymore.
My doctor understands
When I go to my doctor, we will always have a little chat first, she asks how I am, how my treatment is going and if I need anything, etc. At this point she knows, but I always remind her that I need to lie down in case I faint. She lets me get comfortable and turns on the fan. I always overheat and get sweaty during blood tests, so the fan is very helpful.
I will take a deep breath and try to relax my mind and my body. Then, I look in the opposite direction to where my doctor is standing, waiting to take my blood. My doctor knows how uncomfortable I find blood tests so she will try to distract me by asking questions and telling me a little bit about herself. I find this extremely helpful. Talking, answering questions and asking my doctor questions helps me not think of her poking a needle into my veins and taking my blood. Even thinking about it now has me a bit hot and bothered. I think it’s something I will never fully get used to, but at least I don’t faint anymore.
Once she has finished taking my blood, she will let me lie there for as long as I need. Usually, I lie there for a minute or so and sit up slowly. She always gives me a cold glass of water after and offers a fizzy drink in case I need it. Normally, I just drink water as on the way to my appointment I normally stop in the shop, so I have a fizzy drink waiting for me in the car.
Things that help me get through a blood test
When I book my blood test, I will never take a morning appointment. Some mornings I wake up feeling weak and sick. I know if I got a blood test feeling like that I would faint.
Late afternoon appointments suit me best. I will make sure to eat plenty before my appointment as this will help when I feel weak. In the past few months, I’ve realized that hydration is key when it comes to finding a vein. So, I will make sure to drink at least a liter of water before my appointment.
I will then make sure to take it easy for the day. I often use a lot of my energy when I get blood tests. Getting nervous, worked up and feeling weak takes up a lot of my energy.
I know that blood tests aren’t that much of a big deal, but they are something that I find uncomfortable and I’m still getting used to.
How do you find blood tests?
Has changing your diet helped manage your pain and flares?