The dude with tats was terrified of needles? It made no sense.
“Can I use your garbage can?” Mitch asked.
With stealth speed I grabbed the garbage can and slid it under Mitch’s face as he leaned forward. My timing was perfect and so was Mitch’s aim. I grabbed several paper towels and ran them under some cold water as Mitch threw up his last meal. I placed the cool paper towels on the back of Mitch’s neck as he continued to vomit. I closed the door to the office.
“Awh. You poor guy. You have gotten yourself pretty worked up there. I’m so sorry.” I cooed softly as I held the compress in place. My heart really ached for him.
“Mitch? How can you be scared of needles when you have that tattoo? That thing is so fancy, you must have had, like, a thousand needles.” Chelsea gently rubbed his shoulder as she asked the obvious question.
Mitch leaned back in the chair, hands on his thighs, eyes closed and took deep breaths. I used the paper towels to wipe down his forehead. He was grey and pasty. He looked terrible.
“I think it’s the idea of the length of the needle. The thought of it penetrating so deeply. Tattoos needles don’t go as deep.” Mitch attempted to explain.
“Do you want to try another time, Mitch?” I asked him.
“No. I have to have this injection on schedule to go to university in the fall and if I ever want to become a firefighter.”
“Gotcha. What has worked in the past?” I asked.
“Well I will tell you what has not worked: numbing creams, holding me down, or sneaking up on me.”
“Noted. You tell me when you are ready, OK?”
“Can I do anything to help you?” Chelsea asked.
“Yes. You can hold my left hand and distract me while Anne injects the needle.”
“OK!” Chelsea moved to his right side, knelt down beside him, took Mitch’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. She smiled at him.
“Let’s do this.” Mitch said and let out a deep breath.
I picked up the alcohol swab and ripped open the package. I stepped up to Mitch’s arm and did my land-marking on his deltoid. Mitch pulled away abruptly.
“No. No. Not ready.” Mitch took deep gulping breaths, rubbing his hands across his thighs. I stepped back and waited patiently. His breathing slowed as Chelsea spoke gently to him for a minute.
“OK. I’m ready now.”
I stepped forward and rubbed the alcohol swab on the site. Mitch pulled away again.
“No. Please stop. I can’t.” Mitch whispered. I nodded and stepped back. Sweat liberally poured down Mitch’s face and upper body.
“OK. Now please.” Mitch turned away from me and looked at Chelsea. I ripped open a new alcohol swab, stepped up and wiped Mitch’s deltoid again.
“No. Stop.” Mitch pulled away and I stepped back and leaned against the examination table as I waited for Mitch’s breathing to slow down again. This was going to take a while.
“Big slow deep breaths, Mitch.” Chelsea said as she held his face in her hands. “You can do this, OK?”
“I’m going to uncap the needle so it is ready to go when you are, OK Mitch?” I asked. Mitch whipped his head from Chelsea’s grasp.
“Don’t do anything until I say OK! Don’t try and sneak up on me!” Mitch looked at me with fear as he practically yelled.
“I won’t Mitch. I promise.” I spoke softly.
Thirty minutes, ten alcohol swabs and fifteen attempts later, I finally was able to pick up the needle and with a swift stab, inject the vaccine into Mitch’s arm.
I was super thankful that Chelsea was there, holding Mitch’s head in her arms as she was at that point cuz as soon as I finished injecting the vaccine, Mitch passed out. Had Chelsea not been there, Mitch would have tumbled forward into the vomit filled garbage can.