March 24, 2010
By Anonymous

As far back as I can remember, from a very early age, I was a sickly child. Although I never got anything serious enough to hospitalize me, I often came down with flu-like illnesses. Consequently, every time I became sick, which was sometimes as frequently as every few months, my parents took me to see our family doctor. Although I could not understand the reason, every time I ‘visited’ the doctor’s office, I almost always was given injections and even sometimes had my blood taken. As the years passed, I started to develop a fear of anything related to doctors, and especially blood. Then, at age six, the frequency of my trips to the doctor started to fluctuate and then decrease. By age seven, I rarely came down with anything, and I eventually started to forget my fear.

Years later, when I was in seventh grade, my science class took a field trip to a nearby college. We were studying biology at that time so the trip was more focused on the college’s biology program. As our guide was showing us the science building she took us into one of their labs, where a professor and a few students were dissecting a frog.

Being a twelve-year-old boy, my first thought when I heard the words, “dissecting a frog” was that of elation. When the professor told us to come inside and draw closer to his table for a better view, I was one of the first people to run up and sit down closest to him. I was obviously excited of what we would do to that frog, and lucky for me, the experiment was just about to start when we walked in so I had not missed any of the fun. After the rest of my classmates took their seats, the professor introduced himself the students that were helping him and told my class about the experiment.
He then asked if anyone had any questions, and when no one raised their hands, he sat down and picked up his knife. First, the professor stuck a very thin needle into the back of the frog’s neck and broke its spinal chord. A few of the girls winced, but he reassured them the frog would feel no pain for then on. He explained to us that the frog would be paralyzed and be unable to move, or feel anything.

Curious about how the frog would be able to able to stay alive, I asked “But how can it breathe if it can’t move its lungs”?

“Some frogs such as this one can also breathe through their skin,” replied the professor with a slight grin on his face. He continued to talk about why frogs need to breathe through their skin as well as their lungs, and the longer he spoke, the less I paid attention to him and the more I fantasized about what we were going to do to the paralyzed creature lying helplessly in front of us. After what felt like hours, he finally picked up his knife with one hand, while splashing water on the frog with his other hand.

“The water keeps its skin moist,” he said, as he started to cut into one of the frog’s thighs. He pulled away the loose skin and slightly pushed in on one of the frog’s bare muscles, causing its legs to contract and spring back. As the frog once again lay there motionless, the professor briefly explained to us what had just happened and then went on to cut more of the skin off. As he sliced off even more skin, he accidentally hit a large blood vessel and blood started oozing out of the frog’s leg.

At first, I thought, “it is only blood; it will just make the experiment more fun”. Then, I started to hear a very high-pitched sound, much like white noise. As it got louder, my vision also became blurred and darker, almost as if there was less light in the room. Soon I started to lose my balance and could not even sit up straight. My head was spinning, and I was simply unable to tell which way was up, or even where the ground was. Although I did not know it then, I was having a panic attack. Confused by what was happening to me, I rested my head on the desk. Before long, one of the teachers noticed that I unable to pay attention and asked me if I needed to go outside. I stood up, still woozy and wobbling around, and walked outside with the teacher. I must have taken maybe four or five steps before I lost all my vision and passed out. I woke up one or two minutes later, at the very same spot where I fainted. About half my class was circled around me. I was completely unharmed, even from the fall, but I felt a chill that definitely was not present just a few minutes earlier. After I got up and the teachers saw that I was fine, the class continued with the experiment, while I went outside for some fresh air. After they were finished, we got on our bus and headed back to school.

Looking back now, I realize the cause of my fear, but I still do not understand the fear itself. I know that seeing blood will not hurt me in any way, and I try to reason with myself, but I still cannot look at blood, even if it is for a few seconds, without getting dizzy or having a panic attack. I believe that, in the future, this fear will affect my life in a very negative way. As I will try to avoid situations where I might have to be around blood, I think that this fear will influence decisions I make in the future regarding my health.

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My fear of blood

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