Everyday Words

ER Lesson

October 15, 2004

I spent last night and this morning in the ER; I had been quite ill for a couple of days and the pain intensified last night. It was suspected that I had appendicitis.

Immediately I was hooked up to this machine and that and then came time for the usual drawing of the blood. Though the actual act doesn’t bother me, in the last several years the after math has.

Right after blood has been taken, I almost always get terribly ill. Last night was no exception. I could feel the blood being drained and I said, “I think I’m going to pass out”. The nurse said I had no colour, laid me flat quickly and saw my blood pressure going crazy. I started to shake and get really sick. The whole ordeal lasted a good ten minutes.

Afterwards when the nurse said I was fine I told him it was strange how the needles affected me now. I told him I had had seven surgeries and numerous tests and I never, ever had this reaction until recently. Now I have it every time.

He told me that the body has a memory, creating a emotional response to events and that perhaps somewhere along the line I had a bad experience with needles, which my body remembered. And a huge light bulb went off in my brain for two reasons.

The first was about 5 years ago I had blood taken by an incredibly stupid nurse who gabbed with her friends and chewed gum so loudly. When she took my blood she wasn’t paying attention and drew up fluids and such – but not blood. This caused me to go into shock and get sick and every time after blood was taken, I had the same reaction. Even though I had totally forgotten about that one event.

The second reason was that since my body linked that experience to blood taken and created that as a standard reaction – creating a memory – what other experiences were affected by altered memories? Because this was huge for me. It made me realize that perhaps I was connecting one experience somewhere else with a bad outcome just because it happened once. Maybe I was expecting the worse when in fact, I was just going by a memory and not the reality of the moment.

It was a very freeing thought, to think that if I could just become conscious of other memories/experiences that I could alter the outcomes. Now that I see that I don’t always have to get sick after blood being taken just because it happened once. I can change my reactions; they don’t have to stay the same just because of something that happened once.