It’s a Cronenbergian thing


I was just in to the local clinic to have a misbehaving knee taken care of: I got a needle stuck in there, some fluid drawn out, an injection of steroids and an anesthetic, and then I had blood drawn for another test. I know some people have a horror of needles, but I think I have the opposite — I find my internal fluids fascinating, and seeing technology digging into them is actually kind of cool. Not that I’m going to seek out opportunities to be stabbed and poked, though…being a smoothly running machine that doesn’t need repair work is even cooler.

I also quite enjoy getting dental work done. There may be something wrong with my brain.


  1. redwood says

    PZ, you like the end result of not feeling pain or of having body parts working properly, so you manage to integrate going through the tunnel as part of arriving at the light. I bet you didn’t eat the cookie left on the table because the interviewer promised to give you two if you waited until they came back, either.

  2. markr - sex toy to the 70s Knightsbridge set says

    I watched my vasectomy (along with several trainee doctors), and I watched an online video of the total knee replacement I was about to have performed on me, but generally speaking I prefer to keep the red body fluids inside my body.

  3. Trebuchet says

    Nitrous is awesome.

    My wife has procedures like that on her knee every six months or so. The size of the needle the doc uses to draw out the fluids is most impressive.

  4. Matrim says

    I have a weird relationship with needles. I’m fine as long as I can see them. When I was very young I had a nurse give me a shot without telling me because she felt it would be less hassle (she was wrong, incidentally, as she underestimated just how hard a 3 year-old can punch). Ever since then I get super anxious if I can’t actually see the needle. Dental work I’ve always been fine with, never had a horror story.

  5. frog says

    You’re not the only one. I wouldn’t say I enjoy dental work, but I don’t mind it. My dentist makes jokes and takes a conservative approach. Also, I’ve had so many teeth pulled (family genetics give us more teeth than our jaws can hold, and the baby teeth never want to actually leave; we might be part shark), and every tooth filled, that the idea of getting lydocaine shots doesn’t bother me at all. Well, maybe the ones in the roof of the mouth—those do hurt.

    I am also one of those oddballs who prefers the Cavitron to the hand-scaler when getting cleanings. My dentist claims only two of his patients have that preference (he still has to use both, though).


    As for bodily fluids, yeah, I don’t mind needles and all that. As a child I was horrible about it—full screams and temper tantrums and the like. Now I’m all, “whatevs,” as the kids say. My biggest reaction to having blood drawn is to worry about the phlebotomist going after the same vein they ALL go after, because it is big and juicy and obvious. I wish they would switch once in a while, but then I get bruised up because the rest of my veins are a challenge, apparently.

    I had a cyst in my wrist drained once. The doctor was amused that I was so fascinated by the process. I guess most patients look away or something? I’m more interested in how we have all these different fluids in us.

  6. llyris says

    The great redeeming feature of dental work is that it makes the pain stop. Especially if it’s root canal.

  7. Al Dente says

    I also quite enjoy getting dental work done. There may be something wrong with my brain.

    Nothing “may be” about this concept.

  8. magistramarla says

    I once watched while a muscle biopsy was done on my arm. It was a teacher and her student doing it, and I was less shaky than the student. I was making comments as she learned a new stitching technique.
    I’ve put in a few stitches myself as a midwife’s assistant back in the ’80s and I’ve seen lots of blood and gore raising five kids.
    I’m another person who gets needles stuck into the knees on a regular basis. Those pain injections do help.
    It freaks people out when I describe getting botox injections into the vocal cord for Spasmodic Dysphonia. The brief pain is worth it to make my voice better.
    Now, the spine surgery that I went through recently is a whole different story. That was the most terrifying experience of my life. I’m glad that I can’t easily see that awful scar on my back, because it depresses me to see it in the mirror.

  9. says

    After a bad experience at the dentist as an 8 year old, I was terrified of needles. I had multiple fillings done without anesthetic. Not any more. Modern medicine is bliss, except of course for the vampire pathologists. I am so relaxed that I once watched a surgeon excise a wart from my finger as he explained the anatomy of the finger and the critical bits, (nerves etc) that he had to avoid cutting.

  10. Menyambal - torched by an angel says

    My sister was watching the doctor cutting spots off the back of her hand, and giving him advice on how to do it better. (A round excision leaves a pucker when pulled shut, a boat-shaped excision can be stitched to a line.)

  11. Rowan vet-tech says

    On Monday I’m going in to have a colonoscopy (yay family history of colon cancer) and because I either respond paradoxically or hypersensitively to most medications that are meant to ‘relax’ you, I am having no drugs for the procedure.

    I figure that it probably won’t be worse than my worst period cramps, and on a scale of no pain to period cramps, my acute appendicitis was about a … 4? 5?. The doctor at the time was amazed. I’ll just bring a book and things will get done.

  12. karmacat says

    My brother and I are doctors. My poor parents would suffer because inevitably my brother bring up medical stories between dinner and dessert. I am fascinated by blood but I’m not so keen on dentistry

  13. chuckonpiggott says

    Blood work and such doesn’t bother me, or injectIons. Dental work is a whole nother animal. I had my first filling at about 5 and now 55 years later I still dread the dentist. I’ve been going to the same guy for 25 years now. I’m used to him.

  14. rorschach says

    This thing called “potential medical conditions, not so potential anymore” has recently crept into my life. It was all fun when you were a med student full of paranoia and convinced the big C or that random coronary was going to strike you down anytime soon. Well, paranoid anxiety kind of fun.

    But now at age 47, I find myself asking my GP (I have one now!!) for blood results, xrays, and behold, colonoscopies. I am less than amused. Any day now, I will have to add fear of sudden death to my outlook for the future.
    On the bright side, I don’t have 5 stents in my heart yet, and the last person I stuck a needle in his knee to suck out fluid wasn’t me but my dad, after flying from Europe to Australia caused him a little haemarthrosis.

    But yeah, not amused this is apparently a thing now. As to dental work, I’m sorry, but give me a GA, I’m not into that fetish at all.