House of Cards Giving Blood Scene

Did you see the episode of House Of Cards where Clare Underwood gives blood. The needle goes right in, no messing. I guess it was genuine. Hard metal going into soft skin, ouch.

I am no needle phobic but watching the needle pierce the skin and a flow of blood down the tube is always a bit alarming. Even less fun if you have a fear of needles.

Maybe seeing someone else getting an injection is easier than the idea of having one yourself but I doubt it. I have treated many needle phobics over the years and just the mention of the needle gets the heart racing, no video needed.

The underside of the arm is a delicate place, soft, sort of private. It’s got veins as well which remind us of razor blades and warm baths, not good. No surprise that we fear the needle. It is a violation of a special place. Combine that with the distrust that many feel about doctors and the way things are done by an uncaring establishment and you get a phobic perfect storm. Hate the phrase but had to use it.

I remember as a child, a whacking big needle going in. My mother watched with alarm. I was more surprised than alarmed but it made quite an impression. Ever since, I have been sympathetic to the needle phobic who needs to be strapped down in order to allow the process to complete.

Even stroking the soft part of the arm is a bit…yuck. Not a nice tickle, maybe it is the thought of all that blood under the surface. Is this grossing you out? Just sharing, you know.

Overcoming the fear, beating the phobia, can be a huge thing for a long term sufferer. It could mean the green light to having a child or important health tests or a gateway to feeling like a normal person. Phobias are normal of course, fear is a human experience but nevertheless reduces our confidence in general.

Trust is such an important factor. Trusting the doctor. The feeling that the needle is not thrust into you by an uncaring world but is all for you, not against you. Also trusting yourself here is important. Trust that you can stay calm, that you deal with a situation that is unpleasant but somehow less than you imagined.

Many phobias appear odd, like a fear of buttons or gravy. But needles makes sense, health anxiety makes sense. The challenge is to accept the weakness and seek to calm the body down thus building trust that you can deal with the situation.

Brilliant how Clare Underwood, the steely President’s wife, smiles her grimace smile throughout. So beautiful, so calm, so cold.

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Andrew Cunningham

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