I Used To Be Scared Of Blood

Yes it is true. I used to be a wimp, and I remained one until quite a way through my medical training.

I have fainted twice in my life. The first was while at Christmas Midnight Mass 1979, when I was seventeen. On leaving the house to go there I caught my forefinger in the latch of the heavy closing door-OUCH! I hurried on, carrying my throbbing digit. Under the sodium street lights, my finger tip appeared to be covered in black grease, much to my bewilderment. I arrived in plenty of time to find a seat. That was when the throbbing became unbearable, and looking down in the little available light, I surveyed the mashed nail bed, and surrounding gore. Quite rapidly, my vision became monochrome, the world grew distant and I felt cold, sweaty and weak. I got to my feet and staggered towards the door, which in retrospect was foolish. The sacristan who was handing out hymn books saw how ghastly I looked  and sat me down in the foyer with my head between my knees. The faintness eventually passed, and after recovering I was  able to re-enter the chapel and hear Mass.

The second time occurred when I was what I thought a well seasoned medical student. I had been tasked to observe major dental surgery in an operating theatre under general anaesthesia. Cool, I thought, awesome! The patient was wheeled in. She was a dazzlingly pretty girl of my own age, or thereabouts, but very nervous and tight-lipped. She was anaesthetised and put on the operating table. The dental surgeon opened her mouth to begin work, and that was when I saw. Her every tooth was blackened and misshapen with decay. The operation was to remove every tooth from her mouth, in preparation for dentures. She was only 22!

The teeth were pulled mercilessly and dropped in the metal kidney dish with a clang each time. The surgeon’s progress was inexorable and without emotion. The room felt sweaty and airless. The operating theatre smells came to the fore in my sensorium.

Yep, the blood started to drain from my brain, and I knew I had to get horizontal fast. I recovered after a shameful while, but I will never forget that scene. To this day, I relate this tale to medical students who faint in the operating theatre and feel ashamed.

I have never fainted since. Those experiences have immunized me, I suppose. A patient’s relative once told me that I must have a heart of stone to not be moved to tears by some tense clinical situation we had been involved in together. I hope that is not the case, and that my heart is more living wood than dead stone.

The softer but still firm wood is far better at receiving the nails, and the blood, and the very Saviour Of All Mankind into itself.

We followers of Christ must not be afraid of innocently spilt blood, even our own.

Our mission plan is written in His, after all.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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9 Responses to I Used To Be Scared Of Blood

  1. kathleen says:

    Oh dear Burrito, there are so many angles and metaphors in this article, one hardly knows where to begin in making a comment! 🙂

    For a start, that someone could suggest you especially might have “a heart of stone”, is laughable. You are the most feeling and caring of people!

    I do remember as a small child being saddened by seeing the Sacred Blood so vividly depicted on statues and in pictures of Our Crucified Saviour. It also held a certain horror for me too I recall.
    However, most of us (Catholics) have been brought up from very young to see such images. Perhaps one of the dangers is not that we are suddenly shaken into pondering on such unimagineable suffering Jesus underwent to save us from our sins, and the consequent gratitude and love of so Good a God Who would shed up to the last drop of His Precious Blood for our sakes, but that we should take it for granted.
    That indeed would be a tragedy.


  2. Shadaan says:

    Whether Jesus died for man’s bloodshed or not depends on one’s faith. Either he did, or he did not. Your faith will eventually determine whether you believe in this event or not. Those who believe that He did die for us also believe that he was God and he came to earth, took on flesh and a mortal body to share our experiences, our pains, our temptations, and ultimately our death. He died for the sins of all mankind past, present and future. That is often confusing to people who wonder how God can atone for the sins that have yet to be committed. The solution to that question lies oddly in the works of Einstein who taught us that time is bound up in physical space, 3 parts space and one part time. Since heaven, the throne of God lies out of our physical space, God’s perception and view of the universe is not limited by time, so he past present and future is all there. However If there was life elsewhere in the multiverse or in the universe where time and space exist then will Christ have to repeat the act of dying for the living beings in the individual planets to save everyone? My other question is about animals and other creatures, hope he saves them too specially my pet rabbit Oreo and I used to own 3 cows and a dog..


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    Shades of Doc Martin, Bro, fainting at the sight of blood, but I expect your bedside manner is gentler than his. In my previous life as an orderly, I got woozy in the O.R. once, but I think it was the gas.


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    Shadaan, your comment raises some perplexing questions. Specifically regarding whether God “saves” animals in the hereafter, my belief is that they will not be ‘saved’, because they do not have souls – or to put it another way – they have no need of salvation. A grizzly bear or a shark that tears a human being apart has no need to fear the fires of Hell. Does this mean Heaven will be filled with animals and fish and birds and plants? I don’t know, but I won’t be surprised if it is.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    I assume the photo above is a still from the Mel Gibson movie? I have always been uneasy with full frontal depictions of Our Lord. It used to be that Christ’s face was never shown in films, and the religious (or devotional) rationale for that taboo is a good one, imo. I didn’t watch The Passion of the Christ until several years after its release, and thinking back, I wish I never had done.


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    I should add that my last comment expresses my negative feelings about film depictions of Jesus using real humans in the starring role, not paintings or sculptures.


  7. kathleen says:

    I agree JH. I watched “The Passion of the Christ” once too, and I was so affected by it (in some ways positively, but mostly negatively) that I have never watched it again!

    A few personal opinions:
    The actor who played the part of Our Lord was good; he had a sensitive nice-looking face… but somehow, having seen him in other films, one can’t help feeling there is something wrong in that… somehow.
    After the scourging (that I found the most realistic of all) I found something very amiss with the scene of the mopping up of the Precious Blood from the ground. Even though this was meant to be done by the Blessed Virgin and (I think) Mary Magdalene, it still looked too much like the ordinary washing of any old floor. It was just too mundane.
    I felt the devil was very well depicted: evil oozed out of every pore!
    Do you remember the black bird who perched on the Holy Cross? What was that meant to mean? I didn’t like it… and it’s not in the Gospel.

    Well, a few other details too, but must go to bed now (yawn, yawn). Good night.


  8. Brother Burrito says:

    JH, the post is about squeamishness, which is the tendency to be disgusted.

    Disgust is a powerful emotion that protects us, by making us want to avoid harms way. It can be triggered by any of the five senses eg: the sight of blood, the smell of sickness and death, the sound of human distress, the taste of decay, and the feel of slime. That all sounds hellish, doesn’t it!

    It is so powerful that it can slow/stop our heart, or even make us wretch. Feelings of disgust are strongly remembered and make us avoid going near the situations that triggered them.

    We must all cultivate our disgust for sin, while overcoming our simultaneous disgust for the sinner. This is the work of Love, and necessary for us to do the work of Love. The Good Samaritan had no qualms about saving the bloodied victim by the roadside.

    Sadly, due to concupiscence, sin is not as disgusting to us as it should be. We must ask God for the safe revival of our spiritual senses, (discernment), and yet also the courage to love our unlovable neighbour.


  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Well, yes, I did wander away from the point of the post.


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