Help! A Needle!

It's a random evening and I stroll into the hospital, seeking relief from the intense discomfort I feel. I haven't been this ill in many years and I know I'll have to yield to the doctors' recommendations. The sooner I recover, the better for me. Minutes later, I am seated in the lab, ready to get my blood tested.

We've done this a number of times so it's not strange. I rarely ever feel pain and my veins are prominent so this should be over in seconds.

The lab technician ties my upper arm with a tourniquet and my vein bulges forward. "Hurray!" They exclaim. "Such a sweet vein!" I smile, relaxed and happy to be on my way to wellness.

They rub my skin with alcohol and proceed to draw blood from the 'sweet', popping vein. This is when hell lets loose.

All of a sudden, I'm on my feet, hyperventilating, mumbling incomprehensible words and jogging on the spot for good measure. We repeat this cycle four or five times, sometimes, for an hour, before I calm down and let the needle in. Please don't laugh at me...

In the last four months, I've had two transfusions, one infusion and at least, six blood tests. This means that each time, I've had to submit my skin for pricking and each time, we have repeated the above ritual.

The last time, I only became calm after the technician and I exchanged bitter words. We were both angry and exhausted at my antics and her brash words. I felt so ashamed and dehumanised, it took effort to look her in the eyes afterwards.

In all these procedures, the only time I didn't give them drama was when I was given the first transfusion. The doctor looked so good, I calmly submitted my arm for his touch even though that's the biggest needle I had ever seen. I just felt like he could do me no harm.

I'm still traumatised by the memories and let's not mention the laughter and rudeness from nurses I am older than by far. The shame is too mortifying.

Meanwhile, did you notice injections are not on the list? I didn't take any! Any injection that couldn't go through the IV line was best not taken. I chose the illness, which, by the way, was awful!

Am I the only one who behaves like this? Surely, there must be many like me. I need to know I'm not alone in my belonephobia (Yep! It has a name). All my fine girl, home training and reputation fly out the window at the sight of a needle.

Picture: The look on my face when they say, "Your injection is next." Culled from

If you're like me, please share your experience in the comment section. I want to know how you handle the phobia, especially when you are very ill.


Ini Akpan (IniWrites) translates the thoughts, ideas and experiences of influential Africans to transgenerational legacies via ghostwriting, editing and publishing. She is the founder of SW Advantage Resources and you can follow @IniWrites on IG, Twitter and Facebook.