I’ve mentioned before that I have a back injury which causes chronic pain, yes? Well, on Friday I am going to undergo a procedure. It involves three of my least favorite things: a needle, doctors, and pain. In theory, it may alleviate pain—eventually.
But in the short term it’s going to be scary and it’s going to hurt. I’m scared of it. But this is also a necessary thing that I need to try, because if it does work, it will be AWESOME. If it doesn’t work, at least I’ll have tried one new thing. Some things could go wrong, but I can’t do anything about that: all I can do is go through with this and see where it takes me. But I’d like to get through this scary thing with my wits about me. Without feeling so immersed in my fears that the procedure is a violation.
Here’s what I want: To get through this scary thing, oh god do I hate needles
Ways this could work:
- Needles! Pain! Letting someone else be in control of my body! This is big. Let it be big. Don’t push away from the bigness.
- Remember the very important calming pills: they will help with all the tricky biochemistry that can get in the way of deep breaths. The pain pills will help you get through what’s on the other side.
- Hold hands. With your husband. With a nurse. With yourself. With your fear.
- Talk about what’s going on inside your head. Talk to yourself. Be wacky if you need to. Do the laughing-crying thing even if it feels weird.
- Don’t dissociate but notice everything. What do you see? Name things you see. Name what’s inside.
- Visualize the memory of the IV line: the bee pinch and the numbness that come before the final needle. This will be similar.
- Think about this crazy thing: it might be much, much easier than you think.
- I will wear my best pajamas. I will bring Mister Bun even if he never comes out of my pocket.
- I will bring a good handkerchief because pain makes me cry and that’s okay, I’d rather have a good handkerchief by my side.
- Name things. Talk. Hold hands.
- Let someone else be in charge. Don’t bring the bureaucrat who loves processes and lines; bring the child who’s fluid and having fun.
Let go of what it might feel like: hold on to what it does feel like. Remember Havi’s thing about how you don’t need to jump off the cliff, you just need to start with what you have and expand from there. Your comfort zone can also include going to a hospital and letting a stranger insert a needle into your body.
I probably won’t check in on Friday as normal, since I will be busy with the procedure and recovery. But I will report back on how it goes, mainly because I’m so curious to find out how these techniques (awareness and naming things) will work in such a challenging situation. It’s one thing to practice awareness in a room by yourself; quite another in a hospital when a stranger is about to poke you with a needle. One thing I’m going to do is print out this VPA and keep in my pocket so I can reread it in the car on the way there. Wish me luck, internet friends.