I’ve spoken on this topic on this blog before.
This blog post has been percolating in my mind for some time and today I came face to face with a very sad human fear response.
I have my blood taken on a regular basis for health reasons. Today as I was chatting with the person behind the counter at the clinic a mother and young daughter came in. The daughter was crying. It was their second attempt today to get her blood taken.
I immediately went into coach mode, explained what I did and told the mom that I had tools that could help. They were ushered quickly into the room were blood samples are taken. I asked the mom to tell her daughter to take deep breaths. She said if she needed my help she’d come get me and left it at that.
I chatted some more with the person behind the desk and finally went into the treatment room because a colleague came to get her. They were having problems with the girl.
I again went into coaching mode and got down in front of the girl who was very upset and crying sitting on her grandfather in the chair to give blood. I explained what I did and introduced myself. I normalized the situation by explaining that it was okay for her to be afraid.
I got her to calm down somewhat by closing her eyes and breathing. Big deep belly breaths through her nose with her hand on her belly. Then I asked her to go to her happy place in her mind.
It turned out it was Dairy Queen which was awesome. I asked her what her favorite flavor of ice cream was. She said chocolate, “good choice” I said. I asked her to think about going there with the people she loved in her family. She was almost there, she lifted up her sleeve and as the technician got ready she went back into her head and panicked.
Poor kid. No amount of cajoling, rationalizing or threatening from staff or her mom would help.
One of the staff suggested I go ahead and get my blood taken and the girl could watch. I asked her what her biggest fear was. Was it the needle? The blood? I encouraged her and told her she was almost there when I had coached her. She couldn’t give me an answer.
I said I didn’t like needles either and was in often to get my blood taken and looked away.
We tried using music and a phone to distract her, she would have none of it.
Poor peanut. She had bad stomach cramping and was getting a battery of blood tests done to determine what was going on. The technician asked if the pain of her cramps was bad. The girl replied in the affirmative and the technician tried to explain that it would be like a pin prick and she would feel very little in comparison.
I felt sorry for the family. They would have to try again and it would get worse in the girl’s mind.
I did what I could, but unfortunately I was not able to get her to calm down enough to have her blood taken. A lot of mental training is required to get to that chair, there is just so much that can be done in a crisis. The poor mom had no idea as this was the first time they were getting her blood taken.
I spelled fear intentionally in the title. I have spoken about the acronyms here before. False evidence appearing real or face everything and rise. I wish I had more time with the girl to get her through this experience.
There is nothing I can do now to help but send that family love and light.
Take care sweet Laurie.