Turns Out I Also Don’t Like Shots

by Alison Rosen

When you visit a reproductive endocrinologist because you want to have a baby and can’t, because nature is cruel and only allows teenagers and drug addicts to get pregnant, one of the first things they do is draw a bunch of blood. This is to check you for a host of infectious diseases you already know you don’t have, along with checking your hormone levels and bank account. Still not sure how they can tell your income via blood test, but they’re very advanced these days.

This would all be no big deal except I hate having blood drawn. I hate having my own blood drawn; I hate seeing other people have their blood drawn; I just hate the whole needle in a vein, blood in a tube, blood coming out of your body situation. Even typing this is causing me to feel faint. Am I breathing? A therapist told me when I feel faint it’s because I’m getting nervous and holding my breath. Now I’m breathing but my arms feel noodly and hot. See what I’m up against?

Anyway, I had to have blood drawn twice because the lab messed up and good news, I’m HIV negative. “Yeah, no s—.” I wanted to yell back. And possibly I would have if I weren’t about to pass out. Turns out, I’m also no longer immune to varicella (chicken pox) or German measles (measles with coconut), both of which can cause birth defects if you get them while pregnant, but this is no big deal because I can just get vaccinated.

“But I’ve already been vaccinated for both and they didn’t take, what if they don’t take this time?” I asked.

“Yep, just get them again!” the doctor chirped.

I hate chirpy sadists. This is where the rubber really hits the road. Throughout the whole blood drawing debacle I kept saying I was fine with shots, I’m just not OK with having blood drawn. Needle in and liquid in, no problemo. Needle in and liquid out, problemo. I think this was my vain attempt at trying to explain that I don’t have your garden variety, pedestrian needle phobia. I have a more advanced and elegant fear. Or so I thought.

Turns out I’m not too fond of needles either as I had the vaccines yesterday and I didn’t love it.

First of all, no one can give these vaccines unless they live really far away from you. The doctor who suggested I get them? He doesn’t give them. My OBGYN? She doesn’t give them. She suggested either an urgent care facility or a pediatrician. I chose an urgent care facility because I didn’t want to sit in a tiny chair staring at dinosaurs.

The urgent care facility was great except for the hour and a half I waited from the time I arrived to the time they told me to lie down on the table and put my feet up if I was feeling lightheaded. I’ve never been to one of these facilities. It was very clean and had good magazines and free bottled water. It also had about seven nurses per patient, which meant seven people coming in and out of the room talking to me about billing. “Is there any way we could have this very confusing discussion after you give me the shots,” I was tempted to say. Except I was still debating climbing out the window, the giant one in between posters of STDs and a cross section of common skin problems. The human body is disgusting.

The basic problem centered around whether I wanted to pay out of pocket or be billed. They explained to me that paying out of pocket might end up being cheaper because — and here’s where it got confusing — somehow insurance might say that not only was it not covered it but it should cost six million dollars, at which point they’d have no choice but to bill me for six million dollars. Not wanting to be on the hook for six million dollars, I opted for out of pocket which somehow ballooned from the $170 they estimated to over $300. This was after a tech with a lot of piercings punched me hard in both arms.

“You’re going to feel a pinch and then a sting,” she said. “Great.” I muttered. “Is the pinch from the needle going in?” I asked. “No it’s from me pinching the skin,” she said. I got one vaccine in each arm and the bruises I have look to be more from where she pinched my skin than anything. Maybe there’s some medical indication for this or maybe she enjoys inflicting pain. Either way, I remembered why I always hated shots as a kid.

Near the end, she reminded me that another booster was due in a month. This gives me a month to figure out how to get out of it. !

HEAR MORE FROM ALISON ROSEN on her podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” or on the immensely popular “Adam Carolla Show” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrosen or visit her website at

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