Until my epidural, needles held no fear for me, but trying to stay completely still whilst being racked by labour pains is no laughing matter. I swore off needles for life, there and then. Ha! Now it seems needles feature quite a lot in my life, another side-effect, brought to me courtesy of MS and yesterday I was off to the surgery for another blood test.
Last year, on the basis of a suspect MRI, I was whisked off for a lumbar puncture. People are divided about these. Some have great experiences and sail through them, tutting loudly and wondering what all the fuss is about at us lot who scream their way through them. It wasn’t the doctor’s fault that he’d never done one before. The needle (huge, vile thing) kept hitting bone. No words could possibly begin to describe the pain.
Over an hour later, I loosened the grip on my mum’s hand, tears pouring down my face, in absolute agony. And if I thought that was horrific enough, worse was to come. The skull-crushing lumbar puncture headache. It lasted a week. It literally (and I don’t use that word lightly), felt like my brain was being squeezed. Probably the most painful experience of my life.
This summer, whilst in hospital having Alemtuzumab treatment for MS, I had a cannula inserted and it was to stay in my hand for a week. A week!! I managed four days until it fell off in the shower, recreating a massacre scene, blood spurting everywhere. As part of the monitoring process, I have to have a full blood count taken every month for five years, plus I’m due my second and hopefully last dose of Alemtuzumab next year.
I’m an old hand at this now – every time I see a doctor or nurse, I automatically roll up my sleeve. Is it slightly sad though, to be disappointed not to get a sticker for being so brave?