Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I don't handle blood well. I learned this when I was seven and was tested for Lyme disease. The nurse told me I could watch them draw my blood if I wanted, which I did want since I'd never seen blood drawn before. After she finished she asked if I was okay. "Yeah, I'm fine," I said, right before I fell off the chair to the floor. As a high schooler I whacked and cut open my toe on a wall while babysitting some kids. One of the kids I was supposed to be caring for had to help me clean and bandage it, because I couldn't look at the blood.

Sometimes I don't even handle the thought of blood well. When I was visiting Ryan's family one Thanksgiving (before we were even dating, so really they were Sarah's family back then) we all went to watch Master and Commander. It got to the scene where they amputate the kid's arm and I knew not to watch in case there was lots of "blood". But I couldn't stop myself thinking about what it would be like to saw through someone's arm and how it would feel to pierce the skin and as you hit the bone and all the blood and on and on. I tried to stop thinking about it, but just couldn't. I started feeling woozy and closed my eyes to try and let my stomach calm. Next thing I knew Sarah was shaking me and I'd missed several minutes of the movie. I had fainted in the movie theatre (but thankfully remained in my seat) and her dad had noticed I was twitching and was wondering what on earth was wrong with me. Yeah, that was embarrassing. (I have since watched that movie with no problems whatsoever, by the way.)

I've learned that it's good to have someone else around if I cut myself because I very quickly get all shaky and faint. So slicing my finger today while making dinner when Malcolm was screaming and we were trying to get ready for a swim lesson wasn't such a great move since Ryan wasn't home. Poor Gareth got really freaked out while I tried to wash the cut at the sink while keeping my head as low as possible (not an easy task). Despite all his shaking and fear and uncertainty about what was going on, he managed to get me the box of bandaids and call Ryan to ask him to come home. I knew Ryan wouldn't be able to make it for 45 minutes or so, but it was nice to know he was on his way just in case I did end up fainting, which for a few minutes felt dangerously imminent. In the end, I didn't faint, but did throw up before I managed to get a bandaid on (bandaids are really difficult to open when your hands are wet by the way) and sit down on the floor trying to calm my breathing and stop the shaking and numbness before attempting to take care of the now frothing-at-the-mouth Malcolm. Of course, by the time Ryan made it home things were just fine, though my finger still hurt like the dickens, and I felt a bit silly for having him come home early.

Thing is, I don't have too much trouble when Gareth gets cuts and scrapes. Even when he hit his head on a door hinge a couple years ago I was able to handle that quite well (I did have to look away from time to time and take a deep breath, but that's not bad for a head wound I'd say). And for his typical knee cuts and scrapes I have no problem cleaning them up. So apparently it's not so much the blood that's problematic (though it definitely is to some extent), but maybe the pain aspect. When I'm washing out Gareth's cuts I'm not causing myself any pain (though if you heard him you'd think I was cutting his leg off). But if I've cut myself there's a lot of causing myself pain to get it taken care of, not to mention the pain from having a sharp knife slice through your skin. If only I could somehow get myself to react as well with my own cuts as I do with Gareth's. Any friends been successful at overcoming queasiness at the sight of blood? Oh, and tomorrow I get to discover just how much this will mess with my practicing ahead of my audition at the beginning of September. Horrible timing.


Alanna said...

I don't have anything helpful to say except I think most people have something that they have a hard time dealing with, it's just a matter of how common that thing is. I can't handle more than about one insect at a time (I woke up yesterday to a kitchen counter crawling with ants and had to make Craig deal with it-- one ant I can handle. NOT twenty!). My sister can't even think about spiders without freaking out. Craig has issues with needles-- which is especially awkward since his Mom is an insulin-dependent diabetic and has been since before he was born and she HATES it when people are wussy about needles!

So I guess what I'm saying is don't apologize for the fact that blood bothers you-- just be thankful you a have a husband who hurries home to help you out! I think you did a great job taking care of things!

Marianne said...

Erin, do you ever watch the British comedy/drama Doc Martin? If not, you totally should!!

And I'm SO sorry about your cut finger! I hope it doesn't affect your practicing!

Susan said...

I sliced the pad of my right index finger open the week of my grad school audition. Not so good. I had to play my audition with a band-aid and I'm pretty sure I squeaked once or twice as a result. Thankfully, I still got accepted. I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to work around it. Good luck!

Erin said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! The cut isn't so bad for covering the tone hole, but unfortunately it's on the first finger of my left hand and situated exactly where that finger hits the A key. Ugh. Hopefully it'll be mostly healed by the audition, but if not I guess I'll just have to suffer through the pain until it goes numb.