Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What are your phobias?

Do you have any phobias, mild or severe?
Probably everybody does and they can be tough to overcome or deal with.
I have 3 different phobias:
1. Snakes
2. Shots/injections/blood drawing.
3. Mild fear of flying.
Here's my analysis of these phobias:
I had a bad experience in southern Idaho when I was 7 years old with a snake.
Sleeping outside in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, east of Grace, Idaho, with no uncle. No tent., just sleeping bags
In the middle of the night, I swear a snake came right up to my face and looked at me.
I've never been the same. I was in shock all that next day, whether it was rattler or not.
That mouth of a canyon area is a known hotbed for rattlesnakes and so I may not have imagined it, but the end result is the same either way.
Since that time, I've had 5 close calls with rattlesnakes.
1. 1976: Blacksmith Fork Canyon, Cache County. I had to leap over a rattler coiled up on the side of the paved road, while I was running out the canyon one August evening. It barely missed me, according to a fellow runner behind me.
2. 1977: Strong's Canyon: east of Weber State University. Two rattlers trap a friend of me along the rough trail up that canyon. They finally leave 10 minutes later.
3. 1979: Running to Ben Lomond Peak from North Fork with a friend. A rattler along the trailside could have bit me as he was along side the trail as I ran by, according to my friend.
4. 1981: The biggest rattler I've ever seen was just lurking along side the trail between Malan's Peak and Malan's Basin. I swear it was as big around as my leg. I could sense something was there before I saw it. I think it had eaten something and so my girlfriend and I were not threatened.
5. 1988: Hiking the Crimson trail in Logan Canyon, I had never seen a timber-colored, almost green rattler in Utah, but there was one along this trail and he was angry I was nearby. It rattled and I could see his rattles.
I've also had 2 other experiences worth mentioning:
A. In 1981, knowing I fear snakes, a friend put a water snake inside my ball cap while I was swimming in Hyrum Reservoir. Yes, I put the cap on before I knew, then tossed it a dozen yards away and he got a good laugh.
B. In 1983: I was hiking in the early June hiking season to Mount Ogden Peak, from Snow Basin. Once I was in between patches of snow, I believe I was out of snake territory and also because I was at almost 9,000-feet in elevation.
However, in between snow patches I spot a snake and fall backwards to get out of the way, cutting my hand on a rock. It wasn't a rattler and hiking alone, my terrified reaction could have cause me a very serious injury, or killed me, if I'd of been near a cliff.

It is NOT the sight of blood that bothers me, just injections and anyone drawing blood or putting an IV in me.
I'm talking serious reaction here.
I don't know what happened when I was in first grade, but some nurse giving shots gave me a lifetime dose of needle phobia!
My doctor didn't ever believe I had a serious problem with needles. However, in 2004 he did a bunch of blood tests and had a nurse draw some blood. He left the room and came back 3 minutes later and happened to see my reaction.
He described it as an automatic, body-defense kind of reaction I can't control. He admitted it was severe and said he didn't think I should ever donate blood.
I get very hot, sweaty and nausea in this reaction. The doctor said my veins even narrow.
Just watching people getting shots on TV unnerves me and once when my dog received a shot, I even started to get the reaction.
I can sometimes fool myself with meditation and look away from a shot being given. One time on a flu shot, I actually walked out of the room, before I let my guard down and had the sweating, but delayed reaction to the shot.
But having blood drawn takes too long and I just can't concentrate long enough to keep the reaction away.
My doctor now knows he needs the best pediatric nurse around to draw blood from me. They get one chance and then even my veins are tougher to tap into.

After dozens of previous airplane rides, during a flight to Washington, D.C. in 1987, my fear just showed up out of the blue, I was very uncomfortable flying now.
I just survived that flight. I haven't flown since.
When I mentioned this to my mother in about 2006, she replied, "No wonder, it's all those crazy flights your Uncle Harold took you on -- a delayed reaction to them."
Was she right? Maybe. I do recall being up in a prop plane a lot from about age 8-12. My uncle, a pilot, would take only me along and fly out of the Grace Airport or the Ogden airport.
I recall one time he turned off the engine and said., "Let's see what happens." I know we fell hundreds of feet before he restarted the engine. I think he also went upside down at times.
In 1977, while rushing a fraternity at Weber State, part of the "sneak" (an initiation) involved me and 3 others being tied up, thrown into two different prop planes and dumped out in Nephi. Then it was our challenge to get home that late Saturday night. (We would have went to Beaver, if the weather had been better….)
Was being tied up in a plane, another factor in my fear of flying now?
I never had a problem flying until 1987.
I've parasailed and done OK.
I've done every amusement park ride out there.
I have no unreasonable fear of heights.
Rest assured, I won't ever be watching the "Snakes on a Plane" movie and I won't be skydiving.
However, a "Snakes in a doctor's office" kind of movie might be worse for me than the "Plane" movie.
(Photograph is a closeup of a baby Great Western Rattlesnake.)

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