Let me make a confession here. I’m scared of blood. My blood, to be specific. I’d rather it stay inside, where it belongs, so when it makes an appearance outside of my body, I freak out. People always react the same way when I tell them this.
Ok, time to get this straightened out.
1) Life Sciences = micro-organisms, DNA, proteins, enzymes, molecules, cells, etc.
2) Medicine = blood, cadavers, the gory stuff (sorry for generalizing, all you doctor wannabes, but the point has got to be made)
3) Life Sciences ≠ Medicine
Got it? Great, we can proceed now.
*takes off strict-teacher spectacles*
Ahem. So where was I? Oh yeah, fear of blood.
Bloody Incident 2: School, Coimbatore. Age: 13. I’m playing basketball with friends during lunch break when I fall down and scrape my knee on the rough court. A teensy weensy amount of blood appears on the wound. I take one look at it and instantly feel dizzy and light-headed. My friends find this extremely funny and laugh in the face of my pain.
Bloody Incident 3: School, Coimbatore. Age:14. My friends and I are playing some stupid game that involves jumping onto stone benches that are around two feet off the ground. As expected, a friend gets badly hurt, enough that pink flesh can be seen through the wound. As she sits cheerfully, admiring her wound and letting people tend to her, I run away to a distant corner because just looking at the bloody wound is making me nauseous.
Bloody Incident 4: Chez friend, Coimbatore. Age: (still) 14. I’m at a friend’s house having a mini-slumber party of sorts. Her little cousin brother is visiting her, but he plays with my friend’s younger sister and doesn’t interfere much. At night, as we’re preparing to go to bed, we hear him yell. We run to the hall to see what has happened and see him standing there, grinning slightly, holding up his right hand, blood on his T-shirt. He’s been playing with the table fan, with disastrous results. I’m standing there, taking all of this in, and the next thing I know, my friend’s looking down at me and asking why I’ve suddenly chosen to take a nap. I look around and realize I’m flat on the ground. My first fainting experience. (My Physio teacher told us in tutorials that fainting was the body’s way of getting you horizontal so blood can go to your head. I’m now having fun thinking of the body as a separate entity, deliberately sweeping you off your feet and getting you on the ground so it can do what it needs to do.)
Ironically, the only two times I didn’t cringe at the sight of blood (mine or otherwise) were the times others were forced to cringe. Let me elaborate.
Bloody Incident 6: Singapore General Hospital, Singapore. Age: 18. I’m at another Blood Donation Drive, only this time, I’m in the position of Donor instead of Little Girl Running For Life At Sight Of Blood. It’s my birthday and I’ve chosen to do something noble and donate some of the life-giving stuff to the less fortunate. As luck would have it, nature is against me parting with my blood. I pass my haemoglobin test with flying colours, but once in my relaxi-chair, the nurse takes 15 minutes to find a vein to draw blood from. Eventually, she chooses to just jab at random spot and pray for the best. A good half hour later, I’m still sitting in my chair, pumping away at my stress-pumpkin, while all my other donor friends have done their part and gone off to replenish their lost fluids by downing some Milo. Another 15 minutes pass in agony (because of the painful pumping, not the blood donating itself) before the nurse finally takes a look at my half-filled blood bag, declares me a lost cause and tells me to go “build some veins” before coming back the next time. Sigh.
Bloody Incident 7: Sai Centre, Singapore. Age: 19. A year later, I’m at another Blood Donation. And it’s almost a repeat of last time. I go in, nurse can’t find a vein, she pokes and prods and finally manages to get the big needle in and I wait for hours and hours for the damn thing to finish. This time, I even black out at the very end of the procedure and the nurse has to rearrange my chair so I’m lying feet up and the blood is rushing to my head. Nurse shoots me a disapproving look and tells me to build some veins before donating the next time. Sigh. Again.
Cringe-worthy mark 2 (this time on right hand) –
Anyway, what with donating blood twice (with disastrous results) and dissecting mice, I’m well on my way to getting rid of my fear of blood. I just can’t afford to have it anymore, you know? Who knows what bloody thing I’ll be required to do in the years to come.