JUST recently, I wrote an article under this column entitled “Needle-mania” containing my brief romance with needles for cross stitching but this one is an exact opposite.

I have always thought that the past two years as a reporter have improved my stamina to battle my fear of needles because I’ve seen much more ‘gory’ sights like mangled bodies from accidents and bombings needing to be amputated and all that but an incident sometime ago proved me wrong.

I’ve surpassed the records of several runners in making a mad dash through the door everytime the nurses from the hospital enter the school room to vaccinate the pupils in elementary because the sight of injection needles always overturn my stomach and make my knees wobbly.

I’ve tried to overcome this fear. I even enrolled in nursing during my first year in college but I almost did not finish the school year because during the last few weeks, we were directed to get a partner and inject each other with distilled water in the arm and in the butt.

The purpose of the activity, according to the instructor, was to be able to let us experience the actual pain of injection so that we will develop the craft of tender, loving care (TLC) to our future patients.

I shifted to another course during my second year in college.

Anyway, one midnight three months ago buddy Sol whom I haven’t seen for quite sometime came and presented me with a ‘surprise'(his exact word). Wondering what it was, Sol took off his jacket and revealed a six-inch bloodied bandage just below his right shoulder.

“Just a small gash, the bolo I used to get banana leaves with fell and hit me,” he said. I was alarmed but he assured me his aunt had already put malunggay leaves on it for first aid.

But I was not convinced. The amount of dried and fresh blood on the bandage told me otherwise. I asked Sol to just let me look at the bandage again and when he did, I pulled it away without warning. Sol flinched in pain while I went pale for there, staring at me like a mouth with teeth bared was an angry-looking wound about five inches long and about half an inch deep.

My knees immediately felt weak but I tried not to show it. I replaced the bandage, pulled Sol with me outside the restaurant we were in and flagged down a taxi, pushing Sol into it before he had time to argue.

I directed the driver to Davao Medical Center even as Sol insisted that he did not need a doctor.

The nurse at the receptionist almost laughed when Sol told her he just want to have his wound ‘dressed’.

“Gabanganga man na sir, tahion gyod intawon na (That’s a gaping wound which needs to be stitched),” the nurse said.

What happened next seemed a blur to me. After securing the necessary medicines, the nurse injected both my buddy’s arms (without TLC I swear) and directed him to go to the surgical room.

The doctor positioned the needle at the target and pushed while I cringed but I pretended not to be affected. I told Sol non-sense stories while pressing his hands to pass strength to him and to divert his attention from the ‘gory’ stitching process. His wound required seven stitches.

I could not anymore count how many times I flinched with pain everytime the doctor pushed and pulled the needle when I felt my knees sway. A black object seemed to be heading towards my direction, getting bigger and swirling faster and faster even as I felt all my strength leave me.

“I think I need a drink,” I mumbled incoherently and let go of Sol’s hands, barely managing to get out of the room before the black swirling thing could claim my conciousness.

I swayed towards the nearest bench outside the surgical ward and sat down, bowing my head to be level with my knees to get rid of the fainting spell when a loud yell followed by a string of vindictives fell on my ears from the man beside me.

Unfortunately, with my vision blurred, I failed to see and sat on the man’s wounded and swollen foot on the bench. I will leave you to imagine the amount of pus and blood which oozed from his foot because I think I am really going to faint.

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