I like visiting people in hospital. I like the smell and general cleanliness of hospitals. I don’t, however, like going to hospital for me.
Take today. I was in the outpatient section, which also doubles up as blood test waiting area. I have NEVER been able to have an injection. I’m not one of those people who “isn’t good with needles” – I’m seriously phobic. In school, I ran away during the BCG, and had to be brought back by a geography teacher. I then had the head and the deputy practically sit on me whilst I screamed and about three nurses gave me the injection. I was then sternly told not to come into school the next day. I am terrified of needles. It’s not that that I’m not good with them, or don’t enjoy them, but I am completely and utterly petrified.
So I’m in the blood unit, feeling queasy, when I was thinking about the last time I had a blood test. It was about this time last year, and the only parent either available or willing to come, I forget which, was my dad. Now, regular readers of this blog (hello mum!) will recall I have slight issues surrounding my dad. Specifically, him touching me. Don’t like it. It would have to be a very exceptional circumstance for my dad to touch me.
Well, as you can imagine, I was crying and screaming and generally getting hysterical. Shh shh shh, said dad. I turned my snot-bestreamed face to him. I don’t want this! I want to go home! I feel much better all of a sudden! – all came rushing out. The nurses (note the use of the plural) came in. They had a special baby needle they’d use, and they’d do it in my hand so I didn’t have to take my jumper off – like that was happening – and could you just relax, Maria, when –
“I want my dad!”
He’s already here, said one of the more irritable nurses. “No!” I screamed. “I want my real dad!” My father, who was not only having to watch his daughter in great distress, but having his reality called into question, gently piped up that he was there. And this shows how upset I was: I gave him a hug. I buried my face like his coat, like I’d done when I was 3 and they were using tweezers to get the rolled-up bits of tissue out of my nose (long story).
You see? clipped the no-nonsense nurse, your dad’s here. Nothing to worry about. And there wasn’t. For my OCD had met its match. I let dad hug me and, to an extent, hold me down. It was almost like having him back (I often feel like I had a different dad when I was younger).
So as I watched people trooping out with their cotton wooled elbows, I sat back and thought of that day. My dad had comforted me, and I had let him. We have had a couple of hugs since then, but that was the nearest I’ve got to being unafraid of him as I can get.