I have what I like to call "doctor anxiety." It's not necessarily that I think the doctor is going to walk in and tell me I have every cancer and will be dead by 6pm, but it's more of a general fear of all kinds of doctor offices. It wasn't until I was about 20 that I stopped crying at the dentist. I wish I were kidding. Something about the whole environment and the fact that I'm about to be poked and prodded and have my personal bubble invaded sends me into a tailspin, even though it's "for my own good" or whatever else I'm told to make me calm down. Plus, okay, sometimes I do fear that I have every cancer.
I made this appointment three weeks ago, and I've had low-grade nausea the entire time just knowing it was coming up. One night I even woke up in a cold sweat just remembering it was a few days away, but I was determined to suck it up and get it over with.
It was all a bit of a (traumatizing) blur until I was told I needed to update my tetanus shot. I already knew this, because for some reason I vividly remember the appointment in which I got my last one. I was in middle school, and I know this because I remember I had slept in braids the night before so my hair would look crimped the next morning. I was also wearing a glittery MUDD shirt and frosted eyeshadow. I was SO PROUD of myself for not crying during the shot that day, but it was probably to preserve my eyeshadow. I remember using all my mental fortitude and emotional strength to keep tears from running down my face. I was not so successful a few years later when I got vaccinations before college and cried so hard several people had to hold me up, BUT LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT THAT BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.
I was already feeling so traumatized yesterday from answering personal questions and refraining from screaming NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and from being touched and poked that I wasn't even upset when I was told I was getting a shot. I took it like a champ and then got my blood drawn. I had finally grown up! I barely flinched, and I was just waiting for the needle to come out of my arm so I could grab my stuff and barrel down the hallway toward the door and on to freedom. I went back to work where I couldn't use my arm all day because it was ON FIRE and my shoulder actually didn't work. Lockjaw-arm.
When I got home, my shoulder was still so sore I couldn't move it and couldn't even touch it. I tried to take the bandaid off, and all the pent-up doctor trauma I thought I had skillfully suppressed came pouring out of my tear ducts, and I had an emotional breakdown on the bathroom floor. I violently sobbed for 5-10 minutes. I had no idea why I had gotten so upset all of a sudden until I realized it was all just a delayed reaction. Still better than having my mom and several nurses holding me up, so maybe I have made a little progress over the years. What happened the day of my middle school tetanus shot must've been a fluke. Either that or I was extracting some sort of power from my pseudo-crimped hair.