My Trypanophobia and my first Covid19 vaccine

My vaccination card, lidocaine cream and headphones

I got my first Covid19 vaccine shot today.

I wrote about this in my last blog because I wanted to provide some helpful support for people who have trypanophobia/needlephobia. Here is how my day went today.

Feel free to skip to the vaccine centre part by the way

Setting things off in the right way

I packed my bag yesterday night and booked myself a early massage to get into the right frame of mind.

Today I spent most of the night not dreaming which is odd because I usually dream a lot since I started gong to bed later. My Oura ring said 77/100 and Sleep as Android said 92% shut eye. Although to be fair I did go to bed early (12:20am) and wake up early (8:50am). After the hot oil massage at Manchester massage (don’t judge me, it relaxes me and its just a massage, not what you are thinking) I went for breakfast at Ezra & Gil outdoor (it didn’t rain which was great). I applied the Anbesol to my left arm in the toilet and then I walked up to Sports city (Manchester City’s stadium where the vaccination centre is. I was running a late, so walked very quickly building up quite a sweat with my winter coat on.

The Vaccine centre

After finding the centre which is in the tennis centre I entered the reception space had to clean my hands, change my mask to a standard issue surgical mask. This was a pain as I hadn’t wore one in the pandemic and found them awkward. This didn’t really help the levels of anxiety to be fair.

When it came to giving my information and checking I am who I say I was, I told them about the allergies and also my trypanophobia. This is when things massively changed. The man asked me some questions and asked if it had taken a lot to come forward to this point. I said very much yes, giving a summary of my experiences with injections. He jumped up and said he will happily fast track me through the lines to make sure I get my injection rather than let the time build the fear in my mind and I get up and leave. I was shocked but knew this the right thing to do. As trying to block out what was happening around me would become increasingly difficult, even if you can’t actually see whats happening. Fear does a great job of clouding the mind.

The actual moment (Trigger warning for my fellow needlephobic)

The man stayed with me all the way through another ask of my details, another clean and I remembered I need to apply another lot layer of Anbesol to my arm. So we stopped while I did that. Next stop was straight into a booth. He handed me off to the staff and I sat in a chair talking with a nurse who did one more check (they did offer if I wanted to lie down on a bed too). I don’t think I thanked him because the adrenaline was going, but he explained my fear and disappeared.

Sat in the chair, 3 people (2 women and another man) were in the booth explained to me what was going to happen. One sat in front of the computer screen and asked my details. The other woman stood in front of me and asked which arm and explained when I can put my headphones on. She explained the vaccine and needle will come in from the left side and I will never see it unless I look over. It will be given to me by the man. Once I removed my shirt, I put my headphones on and the woman stood in front of me distracted me by gesturing to focus on her and not look around. She could see I was trying to tune out but there wasn’t quite enough time.

I did feel the needle in my arm but the distraction of the nurse gesturing, the soothing sounds of Tears (Protoculture remix) by Dakota running through my head and likely the Anbesol. I had no idea how deep it was or anything, I didn’t count the seconds but it was over before the beat started (so roughly 1 minute). It was quick not painless but manageable for me. I thought a lot about the holiday I already booked and being able to go see my parents soon. I never once saw the needle or anything medical, except the bed. This includes those yellow used needles bin, which usually freaks me out massively.

Afterwards

Afterwards I was given a tissue to wipe my hands is they were sweaty (which they certainly was but I didn’t notice till they passed it to me). Afterwards they gave me water, chatted for a while, explaining some of my previous experiences (even they were shocked by one of them) and then one of the women took me outside for fresh air. We stood outside for about 5mins before I made my way home.

On the way home via Asda to use the toilet and pick up a few things. On the walk home, I had to stop for a short while and have a quick cry (i’m not going to lie). The tension was too much and finally the feelings came out.

I would say as a whole the experience was Good (thats what I pressed on the way out) I think it was great compared to what I was expecting in my head. There were a few things which were not clear to me for example I only knew it was the Tennis centre because my friends had mentioned it before. It also seemed very geared up for car drivers not people walking or using public transport. The fast track was a great move and the distraction was a good too. I like I never saw anything even when leaving.

I am looking forward to part 2? No but I’m more ok with it, although I’m already feeling the flu like symptoms and had to pop a flu pill, drink some tea and might start on the oranges for sure. The plan of rewarding myself with some ice cream has gone out the window (or is still in the freezer).

Hopefully this will be helpful to some?

Lets talk about Trypanophobia and Covid19 vaccinations

So this week I’m having my first Covid19 vaccine injection (jab if you prefer).

I have trypanophobia (the fear of intramuscular and intravenous needles). I have talked about it many times before including how I was able to find a coping mechanism. Looking under the hashtag #trypanophobia and #needlephobia on twitter, there are many more.

Its clear the Covid19 vaccine is affecting a lot of people like myself (15% of adults have some kind of needle fear)

In my case (like many others), I want to get vaccinated but had to massively balance the positives and negatives in my head. The fear of needles is insane and that fear causes me to fight or flight. I really have to fight my mind and body to stop from leaving. It wasn’t till I finally had hypnotherapy, when things really changed how I felt with my absolute fear. It doesn’t work for everybody but it helped massively.

Most people can’t understand what its like and comments like, just look away, its quick, it will be over in moments, its a little prick, its painless; are deeply annoying and very frustrating to hear! Don’t say it! Its a deadly serious fear and as I explain to friends in the past. If there was a decision of having a injection to save my life or dying, in the past I considered the last option (I’m not the only one). Thats how serious it can be! Lets be deadly honest, its a piece of metal stuck in your arm and into your muscle. Its not natural and the terrible situations people like myself have been through will make you pass out if I told you them in full.

What am I doing to make things better for my vaccination?

I have spoken to my doctor about that can be done, short answer not much as the roll out is being done outside of the usual GP circuit. But I will fully tell the vaccination centre everything about my fear.

Zone out with loud music on headphones

I have a few people offer to hold my hand, which sounds silly but part of my coping mechanism is to wear headphones with trance music playing loud. I’m trying to zone out and giving my information pulls me back into the room, so someone else giving my info would be great. So less hand holding because last time a nurse offered, they told me to let go as I was crushing their hand. I was only 13 then, so imagine what would happen if I was holding someones hand now!

Do stuff which is the upside of it all

I booked myself an holiday in Lisbon, Portugal as a treat for getting the vaccine. I always knew vaccine passports were going to be a thing of some kind. Rewarding myself with a holiday for having 2 injections is a nice reminder of why I am putting myself through this. I’m also considering a massage just before too.

Thinking about it and visualise it

One of the things people always say to me is, don’t think about it. For me I have to so I can get comfortable with the fact its going to happen (been thinking about it for the last 2 weeks). When I have blood tests I have to watch it as I don’t want that surprise which puts me back at square one again. As its a shot rather than blood test, I’ll likely look away but visualise whats going on, counting the seconds.

Try lidocaine gel/cream again

A long time ago the doctors would apply a gel patch to my skin for 30mins before to help with the pain. I now know the patch contained Iidocaine. Without going into details, I didn’t find it helped much but I’m willing to give it another try. I’m heading to boots and superdrug looking for it now. I will rub it on my upper arm a few hours beforehand hoping to num my arm for the injection.

Hopefully these 4 things might help others having the Covid19 vaccine. Everybody keeps telling me how awful they feel afterwards but I can deal with that in my rational brain no problem.

I added a few links to some news stuff about this all, I also snatched the last Anbesol from Boots in the Arndale. My nurse friend, gave it the thumbs up and suggested applying it a few hours before then again while I’m waiting for my jab.

Embedded Inequality in the vaccine development process

I knew it was bad, but Vox spell out the embedded inequality. Remember for all the people being vaccinated in one country, it will never be over till most of the world is vaccinated. Vaccine nationalism needs to end!

In related news I got my call up for the vaccine… I was thinking it would be interesting if there was a system like the OLPC (remember that?) get one, donate one. I know it wouldn’t scale but it would at least focus us away from vaccine nationalism.

https://mas.to/@cubicgarden/106137630859489518

My hope for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is put on hold it seems

My hopes of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the UK seems to be on hold. Like the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been a very very tiny amount of blood-clots which are not clear are caused by the vaccine or are coincidental.

Every life is important and blood clots can be lethal, however we got to look at the statistical amount of risk. I’m personally still keen to take the J&J vaccine over the others right now.

Single shot Covid vaccine on its way here

As I have said many times before, happy to have a Covid19 vaccine and happy to wait, but fearful of the actual injection having trypanophobia. One thing I have been keeping an eye on is the one shot vaccines. The thought of having a needle stuck in my arm twice in less than 4 months is absolutely terrifying make no mistake!

Then this week I heard some good news.

Johnson & Johnson applied for vaccine approval in UK late last week
The UK has already secured 30 million doses of the vaccine.

30 million is great but its unlikely I will get the choice, plus I do need to look at the allergy side of the new vaccines.

I know there is lots of debate over the efficacy of the vaccine, but I don’t think everybody understands what this really means.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2021)

traveling with a passport and boarding pass

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, hearing Bill Maher rip through a bunch of websites and people looking for new ways to track users now 3rd party tracking is on its way out?

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with more nuanced privacy depth being discussed, participating in Mozilla’s challenges moment and hearing Solana talk through the internet health report.


The background story of Tony Abbotts boarding pass

Ian thinks: We all heard the story about the former Australian minster who was hacked after posting his boarding pass on instagram but here is the incredible background story, told by the hacker.

Vaccine passports are not as simple as the media are suggesting

Ian thinks: Heather gives plain and clear reasons why vaccine passports are not the panacea its being made out to be. Its also great to hear Lillian Edwards framework mentioned (May 2020 newsletter) as a way forward.

Gamestop? Rethinking the whole rigged system

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff’s monologue about gamestop needs a listen for a different view, but stay around for the interview with Yaël, previous head of political advertising at Facebook. She tells all and I like the approach of trying to fix it before criticising.

Lets talk about Sharenting

Ian thinks: Shareting is when parents share their kids photos and private information without their consent. Its become a real problem now the millennials are growing up with a digital footprint without knowing.

How Facebook joined the splinter-net while Google throw the open web under the bus?

Ian thinks: Hearing about the absolute mess over news in Australia, its easy to point fingers. But its important to look deeper at whats really happening for the sake of profits not people. I’m with Shoshana Zuboff and others, but I know many people get their news from these massive corps.

A big step for gigworkers, but lets be diligent of next steps

Ian thinks: The Uber case is great news but in a similar legal play to Facebook & Google with Australia, there might be more going on that most are reporting? We got to look a little deeper as monopoly is Uber’s end game.

Ian thinks: This is a devious way to force a take-down of a live stream or any recorded footage. Theres got to be a better way and I think its related to using alternative platforms or self hosting with syndication.

The centralisation of power is the problem

Ian thinks: I like this summary of so many of the problems with Facebook, but it misses the important point of centralisation. It also highlights Noam Cohen’s quote “Mark Zuckerberg is deluded by his own faith in Facebook’s ability to be a force for good in the world”

Public value and purpose into the future

Ian thinks: Mariana is on fire and this summary of work around the BBC puts value under a microscope. I love this line “Value is not just the income generated at the end of the innovation chain–– it is also the creative input at the upstream end, the vital investment in talent, content creation, digital innovation and R&D at the early stages

Google fires another outspoken AI research, who will be next?

Ian thinks: Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru show there is something going on with Google AI research. It doesn’t take a lot to guess what is actually going on behind close doors.


Find the archive here

Inequality and the Covid19 vaccine

Here it is again, inequality is in full affect around the Covid19 vaccine.

The figures of the vaccine buying in richer nations is insane, and on the other side I really hope the Covax scheme is successful. However its clear there is a big question of timing, how many people will die in developing nations while the developed nations vaccinate themselves?

As the video points out vaccinating the world has never happened before. This a critical as we saw with the EU considering article 16.

Inequality affects everything.

Covid19 vaccine, I’m happy to wait

Theres been a bunch of press with older people and key workers having had their first shot of the Covid19 vaccine. This is great news of course but I got to say everytime I see someone having a injection in the press its still scary for me. Love to have something of a trigger warning for this all. But then again I’m not anywhere as bad as I use to be thanks to hypnotherapy.

I have always said I’m happy to wear a mask and will be wearing a mask till October next year I predict. The vaccine needs to go to the people who most need it, the people who protect the vulnerable, front line works, yes; but that list needs to include other nations.

The rush to get the vaccine is locking out poorer nations and I’m glad to see this is being highlighted and being acted on?

To be clear when its my time, I will get it even if it does mean yes I will need 2 shots within a month, not great for someone terrified of needles. I have no doubts about the vaccine(s) just the injections. Really wish I could take a pill or like Contagion, could be delivered via nasal spray. (you don’t need to write to me to explain why that couldn’t work, its been explained to me over and over again to me)

I won’t be surprised if having the vaccine will be a requirement for travel on planes in the near future. If not expect getting travel insurance to be troublesome to say the least. I don’t think it will be mandatory in the UK but