Do not consider the contents of this blog as professional medical advice.

15 January 2012: Associative Trypanophobia and a Scar Update

There is an unusual aspect of my life that strikes me as odd, and it is my unusual simultaneously high and low tolerance to pain.

I have had my fair share of falls, tumbles, scrapes, cuts, a few gashes, and other accidents growing up, but none of that really seemed to phase me that much in terms of how painful they were.  For example, I once had someone playfully take a hard swing at me with a large icicle (don't ever do this, seriously), which didn't break, and thudded as it smacked me in the thigh.  This wasn't that bad, in terms of pain.

In spite of being able to take all of this, I have a terrible anxiety when there are needles involved.  I have as long as I have been able to remember been resentful of needles being inserted into my body, and literally started shaking the few times it has been necessary.  The pain of needles isn't really that bad, or sharp for that matter, but the psychological anticipation of the pain coming is what causes me to worry and shake.

For example, in a practice lab for class we once used disposable lancets to test our own blood glucose levels, but I could not bring myself to administer the sharp, sterile device to draw blood from my finger.  I had to hand someone else my lancet, and looked away.  I told my partner to pick a finger random, but not to tell me which one.  When my partner asked if I wanted him to countdown, I said no.  I felt that counting would have made it worse.  Someone sitting next to me was kind enough to distract me with an anecdote, but I still was shaking and jumped when I felt the sharp pain on my finger.

This shaking anxiety has always been in my life in response to anticipated physical pain.

I remember reading somewhere once a study about negative changes in infant and toddler pain thresholds or vaccination discomforts as correlated with circumcision status, and I can't help but wonder.  This fear and anxiety for anticipated pain has been around as long as I can remember.  My earliest memory of vaccination was an anxious one, even before the needle, and at the time I didn't know and couldn't remember why.  This was the first shot I would ever remember.  Why was I so frightened with no previous concrete negative memory before?

This might all seem speculative, because, well, for me it is.  Whether or not it is speculative, I think this is significant.

All speculation aside, I will conclusively state that taking two shots directly into my penis on the day of surgery certainly did nothing to improve my already present anxiety for needles.

In other news, there has been some mild improvement in the scars.

The fibroid fissure is now not a local, hard, raised, clearly defined lump under my skin anymore.  Now it is only a tough gristly area where I am guessing the collagen scar matrix is breaking down.

The fleshy crater is still a crater, and has surfaced over with gray, shiny scar tissue.  It appears to be filling in very, very slowly from the bottom.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that it continues.

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