Friday, November 10, 2006


As far back as I can remember, I've been terrified of needles. The kind that give you medicine. They hurt, but it has never been the pain itself - more the idea of the needle piercing my skin, that it might go "too deep" or "too far in."

This year, Keil Bay, soon to be 18 years old, started exhibiting a little "hitch" in the trot, not always noticeable, easily worked out with a good warm-up. But the vet suggested it would be a good time to start him on Adequan injections to help with joint issues.

Adequan itself is rather expensive. If you then pay the vet to come out to give the injections, it's farm call plus injection plus cost of the med itself. So the vet taught me how to do it.

I was physically ill the day he came to teach me. Had a sudden onset of a cold, intense sweating, butterflies, nausea. Seeing the needle in its case was hard enough - but watching as it went into Keil Bay's neck, via the force of my own hand, was ... nearly too much.

I suspect only a child of mine needing injections or Keil Bay needing them could have pushed me to try. The vet had me do everything from start to finish, with his instruction along the way. Once I got the syringe loaded and ready to go, I wasn't sure I could continue. The idea of pushing the needle into flesh was overwhelming. But I did it.

That day, with supervision. Then once a week for 3 more weeks by myself. And once a month since. Keil Bay stands like a soldier, still as a statue. He doesn't even flinch. I am astounded that a lifelong fear can be so easily conquered, mostly, I suspect, because there was a real reason to overcome it.

Keil Bay is moving so well these days it's been a joy to ride him. The Adequan is making a huge difference. Today was the day for this month's injection, and for the first time, I didn't feel nervous walking out to the barn with that loaded syringe. It's starting to feel almost normal. I slowed every part of the process down some, allowed myself to focus on what I was doing. How important it is to him, and to me.


Anonymous said...

Wow. That is fantastic. It is amazing what you really can do when the need for you to do it is great enough. Good for you. Most people don't push themselves like you have.

billie said...

There seems to be something about the middle phase of life that makes many of the monsters seem smaller and more manageable. :)


Joseph Gallo said...
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Joseph Gallo said...

We fear that which we most face. Or is it the other way around? Either way, I still wince. I prefer not to look when being innoculated or when having blood drawn.

Watching a child or an animal getting a shot always makes me hurt a little too.

But there is a metaphor in this process for you; a universal one. Thanks for sharing it with us, Billie. :-)