The Word That Starts With “B”

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Since I was small, I had blood phobia… especially when combined with needles: shots, intravenous, blood infusion. It was so bad that I couldn’t seriously consider being a veterinarian or an animal health technician (through a program here in Montreal), two careers I would have loved to pursue.


I had my blood draw only three times in my entire life: once when I was little—and my mother had to chase me around the block and push me to the laboratory—and twice when I was already grown-up, here in Montreal, during which I was about to faint and the nurses got angry at me because of the fuss I was making.


Yes, I know, I was over-the-top, but I couldn’t help it. There were two instances where, while trying to overcome my phobia, I ended up experiencing great embarrassments.


Once, in secondary school, my friend was going to the veterinarian and I went with him. He had a puppy Cocker that had been infected with the parvovirus and need to be put on intravenous. I stood by very close to see the procedure, thinking it would help me get used to the sight.


My friend had taken the time to explain to the veterinarian how I loved animals, how I was helping him with taking care of his puppy, and so on. When I saw how they inserted the catheter, I felt like the room was spinning, I felt so bad that I went and sat at the desk and fainted. Much to my eternal shame, I realized that they had to leave the puppy and take of me instead.


The second time was on my first day of my lecturers’ classes in Natural Sciences, which started in 1997 in Córdoba. The first subject was Cell biology. It was a very hot day, and I was already feeling a bit unwell. It all worsen when the professor voluntarily pricked her finger on a needle to show us a sample under the microscope.


Just seeing the process made me lay back on the bench, and there I fainted. As a result, I felt my blood pressure drop so much that when I came to, I couldn’t talk coherently.


I tried to tell my classmates I recently met that I was could speak normally… but, it’s just that I couldn’t do it, all my words were all mixed up. Luckily, I came back to my normal self a few hours late and my classmates didn’t get any wrong idea about me.


My father knows how bad all that affects me, so sometimes he would joke about it and grab my arm as if he was going to take a sample! And I would always start screaming… we always have a code, when we start talking about the problem, we say the word that starts with a “B” in order not to name it.


I don’t know how my life would have been different if I didn’t have that issue; would have I been a veterinarian by now? Maybe not… I would have only been a less bothered person and this point at least, I would have known what is my blood type.


Author: Helena Arroyo

Amelie Delobel

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