Phobia Of Needles Equals Fear Of Surgery
Do you have a phobia of needles? Surgery can be very scary. For most people it is an unknown entity. Even if you have had surgery before there is always a sense of having to deal with the unexpected. As pre-op nurse I see people run through a gamut of emotions regarding their surgeries. For most, the phobia of needles is the biggest fear factor. I know you may be afraid. I know that some of the things that may be worrying you are:
- The IV start
- Post op Pain
- Post op nausea and vomiting
- Losing control of your bowel or bladder on the OR table
- Having a bladder catheter placed
- Waking up on the OR table during surgery
- Saying things your shouldn’t while under or coming out of anesthesia
- Dying on the OR table
Am I right or am I right? Did I miss anything here that you might be worried about. If so, leave me a comment. Well, over the next few weeks I will be addressing each and every one of these worries and any more that you may have come up with. Today, lets start with the number one reason people are afraid to have surgery. Phobia of needles.
The Truth Is The IV Hurts
The truth is, the IV can hurt. There is a valid reason why you may have a phobia of needles. Many people fear the IV start more than any other part of the surgical process. Your nurse will try to talk with you and distract you during the IV start and make sure you are as comfortable as possible. As a pre-op nurse I always use lidocaine (as long as my patient does not have an allergy to it) or other numbing techniques to relieve or eliminate the pain of the IV start. If you can’t feel the IV being place, then there really is not need to have a phobia, right? If the IV is your biggest fear there are some things you can do, or ask your nurse for, that will help overcome your fear of needles:
- Drink large amounts of fluids the day before surgery. Your veins will be fat and happy instead of flat and dehydrated on surgery day.
- Ask to have your skin numbed before the IV is placed. You nurse may be able to use lidocaine or can freeze your skin to decrease the pain of the IV.
- Ask the nurse to warm the arm she is going to start the line in before placing the IV. Warmth dilates the vein, filling it with blood and making the start easier for the nurse.
- While waiting for your IV hang your arm down so that blood flows into the area where the IV is going in.
- Ask your nurse to rub or lightly slap the vein before placing the IV as this small trauma causes the vessel to fill with blood making the start easier.
- Use relaxation techniques and imagery. Think of yourself walking on the beach, sand beneath your feet and waves lapping at your toes. Ahhh, relax. Or maybe, reading a wonderful book on a summer day while lazing in a hammock. What ever it is that makes you feel relaxed, go there in your mind. The mind is a very powerful beast and such imagery causes your veins to dilate, get bigger, fill with blood and become ripe for the picking!
- Do not watch the nurse start the IV. When you watch the nurse start your line your veins automatically constrict. You brain sends a warning message to you vascular system which responds with vaso-constriction. A constricted vein is not a happy vein.
A phobia of needles can be debilitating and has even prevented people from having surgery, just to avoid the IV. The IV really only takes a moment. I agree, they can be painful but if you implement some of our tips to overcome your fear of needles you may find that it isn’t so bad after all. You may find that you no longer have a phobia of needles.