Still Waiting

A little while later, a nurse comes over to give Nicole a cup of water. Her anxiety is still through the roof, and even though the aching indents in her arm are helping, there is no way she’s going to be able to drink anything in front of anyone. She’s severely dehydrated, and she desperately wants to take a drink, but her mind keeps her hands still, not letting her take even the smallest sip.

A few moments later, she has to go to the registration desk to verify her identity and insurance. They tell her to bring her belongings with her, which includes the water. There is a little bit of spilled water on the floor, so when Nicole stands up, her shoe squeaks as she takes a step. She mentally cringes and feels so embarrassed of herself to herself not because of anyone judging her or anything, but because she has made this high-pitched sound. They walk over to the regular side of the waiting room to wait until they are called to a registration desk. Once that is all taken care of, they return to their original seats to wait a while longer.

A few moments later, another nurse comes out from the back room and informs Nicole that they need to draw blood as part of the medical clearing. Nicole is panicking more as she has a serious fear of needles, not because they hurt but because the idea something going into her skin like that grosses her out.

The nurse directs her to the door to Nicole’s right. Through the door is a small exam room with chairs and an exam table as well as a counter with a plethora of medical items. She walks in and stands awkwardly in the middle of the room as Taylor and the nurse walk in behind her. The nurse tells her she can sit on the table to they can draw her blood. Nicole sets her things on the chairs across from the table and next to Taylor, then she steps up on to the table to sit.

After washing her hands, the nurse brings over packaged tubes and needles on a tray, and she sets it down next to Nicole. As she does this, Nicole’s mind is spinning faster, and her thoughts are becoming more critical. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I hate this; I hate this so much. I just want to leave, to go back to my dorm, to sleep, to pretend like this never happened. Please, no, no, no…” She asks Nicole which arm she would prefer and Nicole responds by saying her right arm as she doesn’t want either of them to see what might be still visible on her other arm. The nurse says okay and takes out the alcohol swab while Nicole pulls her sleeve up. The nurse looks for her vein in the crook of her arm, feeling around for it. As Nicole watches, her panic persists, and her entire body is trembling.

Once the nurse locates the vein, she rubs the alcohol wipe on her arm leaving a brownish liquid. Then she grabs the package the needle is in and prepares it before sticking it into Nicole’s arm. Nicole’s anxiety continues to rise, and she turns to look away, making eye contact with Taylor for a split second, until she is looking completely to the left as far as she can turn her head. “I’m such a burden here, and I should have just gone through with it when I had the chance then I wouldn’t be here or be a burden anymore. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry; I’m sorry; I’m sorry; I’m sorry; I’m sorry. I don’t want to be here anymore…”

“You’re going to feel a small prick.” As the nurse sticks the needle in, Nicole’s arm jerks back a bit as she can feel the needle in her arm, and she squeezes her eyes shut until it’s over. The nurse tells her they are all done and asks her to hold a small piece of gauze on her arm while she gets a piece of tape. After she’s taped and pulls down her sleeve, she slides off the table to grab her stuff and leaves the room. They return to their seats to continue waiting. It takes Nicole quite a while to calm down from this experience.

Her mind makes this minor event seem more traumatic than it needs to be, but in the future, when she has to endure the same procedure, she experiences flashbacks, extreme anxiety including severe tremors, the inability to breathe or speak, a racing heart, and sweating, as well as dissociation and crying spells.

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