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fear of blood tests/hair cutting....

(6 Posts)
binker Sat 08-Jan-05 11:30:14

First up, Happy New Year mumsnet ! haven't been on for ages as IO'm trying to curb my internet use (phone bill too huge!).
However I really need mumsnet's advice..
Ds - 7 yrs old - has always not liked having his hair cut - we go every 5 or 6 weeks to a very nice but firm no nonsense woman at hairdressers,who cuts his hair very nicely and usually he's fine - fusses a bit,holds his ears and puts up with it - he used to get in a real state when younger, but on the whole it's ok. However,yesterday he got into a real state and was very tearful and genuinely upset - I'm wondering whether it might be anything to do with his having recently been to a hospital appointment where he had blood pressure,temperature etc taken (with the ear thermometer thing) - he got really upset and anxious there, which might be due my own anxiety at the time (we'd gone to an emergency clinic as he had a strange rash with bruising and I was really frightened)
He is now due to go to hospital in a few weeks for a blood test (for this same thing) and I'm dreading it as his last 2 blood test visits were very stressful (The nurse couldn't get enough blood out and I totally messed up by fainting,would you believe !!). My parents took him a few weeks later and they did successfully draw blood, but the sample clotted and it couldn't be used.
Unfortunately my parents now live too far away to help out, but I'm going to go with dh for support ! Does anyone know any good ideas for getting ds calm ? Does anyone else have similar probs ?
Ds has successfully sorted out his own fear of dogs by immersing himself in all things doggy,kind of self-treating, and as soon as he gets home from anything difficult,like a dental visit, he re-enacts the whole thing with his toys- he's quite keen on playing blood tests, so we'll do a bit of that. Also, the nurse at the hospital mentioned asking for the play specialist,which I'd forgotten about..that might be a good idea.
Many thanks in advance for help !

tallulah Sat 08-Jan-05 13:19:41

Do you know why he doesn't like having his hair cut? I mean, is it that he doesn't want short hair, or does he not like the sensation, that sort of thing. My ds1 has never liked having his hair cut because he doesn't actually like being touched, especially on the head. It may be that your ds doesn't like the hairdresser herself, or perhaps doesn't like to be touched.

Can't help with the needle-thing. I get very wound up about blood tests, needles or anything like that. I always had to have the nurse take the children away for their baby jabs because I just couldn't bear to see it. If I have to have a jab or blood test myself I get into a real state even at the thought of it. I don't think you can actually get someone calm about it if they really don't like it. I think you can only hold off telling him until the last minute, then explain that you understand how much he hates it and perhaps set up something nice for afterwards?

Casmie Sat 08-Jan-05 13:23:44

Can you immerse in all things hospitally perhaps? Get a toy doctor's kit with stethascope etc... borrow some books at the library about hospitals, etc? Do the hospital themselves have any resources like that for reassuring scared children (I'd have thought the children's ward might?)

Haircut - my ds1 is much younger than yours but has always loathed hairdressers. We use clippers at home in front of a favourite video instead which he tolerates quite well (and it's over fairly quick, too) - might that be feasible?

Casmie Sat 08-Jan-05 13:24:48

Had another thought - does he know how blood circulation, veins etc works? At 7 he might be quite fascinated with all the "this is how my body works" type stuff and be distracted from the actual blood taking?

Stripymouse Sat 08-Jan-05 13:40:50

I used to be like this as a child - I had to go for hearing tests every 6 months for a while and would worry so much about it that I would throw up in the car every time. Just the stress of leaving school, waiting for my mum at reception, going to the hospital, having to talk to these people I didn’t know, worrying that I might get their tests wrong etc. would get me so worked up that I would be ill. My mum was lovely about it and tried to make it as easy as possible for me but I still put all the stress on myself - you can imagine what i was like when I needed any jabs! I did grow out of it and became better at handling different situations - around the age of secondary school I think.
Explaining it all beforehand might be a good idea but be careful not to make it into a bigger deal than it already is for him. I remember having a big picture on my wall about the human body and spent my nights staring at it, worrying about all the bits that can go wrong, but then I was always one of life’s worriers
One tactic would be to try find a good distraction by organising a "reward" or something positive straight afterwards - maybe lunch afterwards in his favourite place or saying that after the hospital visit you will go together to hire a movie, whatever he would find exciting enough to focus on rather than the actual hospital visit. It might also be an idea not to remind him that he has the visit until on the day after his breakfast to limit the amount of time spent worrying about it - this way he will get a better nights sleep before, be able to eat something and then will be more up to coping on the day.
Good Luck

binker Sat 08-Jan-05 15:43:24

thanks all of you - Tallulah- I don't think that he dislikes the hairdresser,but he is afraid of things like scissors,knives,pins etc and just generally very cautious of things that might be dangerous - the thing is that he's been ok about haircuts for a while - not exactly liking them, but tolerating it and getting a visit to the nearby Waitrose to buy a cake or some sushi (his favourite treat !)afterwards.
Casmie and Stripymouse - he does know a lot about medical stuff as he plays hospitals and has books about how the body works etc - I think I'll avoid telling him until the morning of the appointment. It's at 11.30, so I don't know whether I should take him to school for the hour or so before (the hospital is about half an hour away by bus) and promise him a treat afterwards (me too !)
I used to have lots of blood tests as a child of about 6 and half and once a blood transfusion which was terrifying, so am not exactly happy about it myself !

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