I just wanted to share a little something with you:
At 19 after giving birth to my son I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism AND type 1 diabetis. You would think an "adult" could handle this right? Wrong. I went through serious denial. I refused to take my thyroid medicine and binged on candy bars (great for a diabetic ). I landed in ICU for 10 days. That made me stand up and pay attention to my sugar but still didn't quite get through with my thyroid. I would conveniantly "forget" to take my pill every day. I started losing my hair, had muscle aches, and gained about 40lbs. I totally understand your granddaughter's fear of needles. Is she completely aware of the complications caused by not taking her meds? I know you said she doesn't have a thyroid but does she literally not have one or is it just completely shut down? I developed a goiter from not taking care of myself and had to have mine removed. I couldn't swallow or eat anything solid. (Not to mention I started looking like I had an extra head growing out of my throat). She sounds like she's having full blown panick attacks. Maybe she should be on a daily maintenance med. (such as Xanax) for her panick attacks in conjuction with therapy. I'm not suggesting Xanax specifically due to her age but maybe there is something that would work for her.
Good luck to your family. I hope things work out for the best.
I think you should try anything and everything.. maybe educate her about the severity and necessity that she do these tests, but by no means punish her. She is scared, why should she be in trouble for that. educating someone in a situation like this could maybe do the trick??
I certainly hope things work out and she overcomes her phobia. I had a goiter removed when I was about 13. My hospital experience was not a happy one and the blood draws were tough. Needles were much bigger then and often the person doing the draw didnt get my vein the first time. I would much rather get my vaccinations than get a blood draw. I remember going once and two nurses tried over 8 times before finally hitting the vein. After my initial 1000 pills ran out, I never returned to the doctor for many years. I became 30 lbs overweight with no energy, began losing my hair, slept all the time and was constantly cold. I finally went to a doctor due to urging from friends and got back on medication. What a world of difference! I feel better now than I've felt in years. My doctor usually checks my TSH level about once a year and its been at the same level for six years now. They use a butterfly now which is almost painless and the technician seems to be more skilled. That makes a huge difference! Best of luck to her. The correct level of medication is vital.
As an adult who had her thyroid removed over 8 years ago I can certainly identify with the child. I think that the real problem may be that she doesn't feel in control of her body. I go through the same thing when it is time for me to get my labs done. I put it off as long as I possibly can, not because I am afraid of needles....it's because I hate "having" to do it. I hate having to be dependant on medication for the rest of my life. sometimes I feel as if I am being suffocated by my condition. Maybe if you let her decide when she should get her blood done (within the time frame of course). Maybe have a pleasant ritual to do after her blood draw. I don't know if she has a therapist to talk to, but that might be a good idea. I think that the most important thing that you can do is to validate her feelings. Tell her that you understand how awful it must feel not to be in control, but that she can take control of her conditon by getting her blood done on time and taking her meds as well as following a diet that is beneficial to people without thyroids. Tell her she is not alone and let her read some posts on this board. Go into the thyroid disorders section. It's very helpful.
I wonder how much of her panic and anxiety was caused by being held down for blood tests. My experience is that in some kids, being held down and forced to have blood draws just makes them panic more later on.
Ok, this is what worked for one extremely frightened 12 year old that I know of. It involves help from nurses though and will require their cooperation too. It is based on taking the blood draw process a little further each time.
Before I go into details though, I feel I should point out that (in my opinion) the topical anesthetic creams (such as EMLA and Ametop) are GREAT!
Visit 1: Apply some of the anaesthetic cream to child's hand and wait for it to work. child goes to treatment/exam room or wherever blood is normally drawn. Is allowed to explore the equipment in there (under supervision obviously). At end of session, and once child is relaxed enough, get them to touch where cream was. Hopefully child will realise how numb hand is!! That is a good start.
Visit 2: Has anesthetic cream applied and goes into blood draw room after it has had chance to work. Is put into same position as would be for blood draw (ie, sat in chair or laid on bed, whatever). Has torniquet applied to arm and gets skin cleaned. Nurse gets needle out of packet and moves towards where blood is normally taken from - but doesn't actually touch the area!
Visit 3: same as visit 2 but nurse encourages to child to have needle touch their skin (obviously on the numb area!). Child is reassured that the needle will NOT be *****ed into their skin! You must keep this promise otherwise the trust will be gone!
Visit 4: same as visit 3, but child lets nurse put needle through the skin and into vein for blood draw
You might try these too - depending on what is the cause of her fears.
If it is the sight or sound of the procedure that makes her worse, allow her to close her eyes/turn away or let her listen to music through headphones to block out what is going on. If the problem is that someone once told her it wouldn't hurt, and then it did, it might be that she doesn't trust the nurses. Hopefully, step 3 should sort this out if the nurse keeps their prmoise not to ***** the skin.
You might find some steps need repeating. The one thing I must stress is that the cream is great!!!
This seems long-winded I know, but it well worth the effort, if you can get the hospital/care facility to help you out on this!