By Misty Knisely
There’s a reason I’m not a nurse. It’s a pointed reason — needles.
I don’t like them. At all. I would argue they don’t like me either.
In my ignorant youth, I thought about becoming a nurse. I went to college with no clue what I wanted to do and my mother threw out nursing as an idea. “Sure, why not?” was more or less how I ended up taking early prerequisites for nursing school.
Like most bad decisions, the error in my thinking (the lack of thinking is probably more accurate) quickly caught up with me. Sitting in a study room in the nursing building, I noticed a fellow student using a pen that looked like a syringe. To make matters worse, it had red ink to resemble blood in the syringe.
I dealt with my stomach turning for as long as I could and then asked her to please use another pen.
She looked at me like I was a crazy person.
“Umm, are you a nursing student?” she asked. Not waiting for an answer she said, “If you are and this pen bothers you, you probably shouldn’t be.”
Her observation and a killer anatomy class did me in, and I was looking for another major. And with that, I thought I was done with needles forever.
My sister asked me to dog-sit for her this weekend while her family goes on a short trip. I adore this dog so I instantly said yes. Two seconds later, I remembered the dog is diabetic. My mind was instantly flooded with images of needles. Through the panic, I could barely hear my sister reassuring me it’s not a big deal and how I’ll be just fine.
“The calmer you are, the better it will be,” she soothed.
The flaw in her logic is that I’m not known for my calmness.
The first shot of Chewie’s visit rolled around Friday morning. I woke up tired because my mind was racing about the shot I would have to administer the next morning.
When I went to clear the counter to get ready, I noticed my hands were shaking. I noticed it because it caused me to knock the glass over and water went everywhere. In trying to grab the glass on its way down, I knocked several more items off the cabinet. This wasn’t a good start.
After cleaning up the giant mess, I gathered all the accoutrements I would need, including the dreaded syringe. After getting the required dosage, I made my way to Chewie. It’s a good thing she’s used to getting a shot and stayed calm because I was borderline losing my mind.
I pet her on the head and asked her to take it easy on me. Please, I begged her, no flinching, no yelping, no nothing.
I gently bunched the skin on her neck and tried to find the spot my sister had showed me. I brought the needle up to her neck and as soon as it entered my line of sight I began to shake again. I steadied my hand as much as possible and mentally scolded myself to do it already.
I must’ve waited too long because Chewie turned to look it at me. The only way to interpret the face she gave me was annoyance. I swear her eyes said, “What are you doing back there? This is taking forever and the longer you take, the longer I have to wait for my treat. So hurry up already.”
Granted, I might have been putting words in her mouth.
I turned her head around because A) I didn’t need the judgment and B) I was going in for my second attempt.
I somehow finished giving her the shot and she jumped right up for her treat. I stood up to follow her to the kitchen, but my wobbling knees forced me to sit back down.
While sitting there, I counted how many more shots I would have to give her and then texted my sister.
“I hope you’re enjoying your vacation, because you’ll never get another one.”
Misty Knisely is managing editorof the Pharos-Tribune. She can bereached at 574-732-5155 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.