Health class always made me nauseous as a kid.

There’s just something about looking at the inside of a body illustration that makes me squeamish. And don’t get me started about blood.

I can remember one day from seventh grade. We had some extra time to kill at the end of class, so our health teacher flipped on a surgery video. One of my good friends, Punit Patel, watched in awe the entire time. (He later attended Purdue University for a biology degree with plans to become a pediatrician.) Me, well, I made friends with the white board on the side wall. No internal organs there, although the video sounds were enough to make me gag.

The moment I see exposed organs or fresh blood, I find myself reaching for the nearest trash can. It’s not a fear, I’ve realized, but it is something that makes me extremely uncomfortable.

In eighth grade, I ripped open my knee after falling off my bike at my grandparents’ house. I should’ve gotten stitches –– I still have the scar to prove it –– but instead we wrapped it with a few of my grandpa’s old socks and called it a day.

Normally, watching so much blood drip down my leg would’ve been enough to make me pass out. But, I needed to find help, so I limped to the woods until I found my grandma driving her four-wheeler down one of the paths.

I’ll always be grateful Gramma didn’t go ballistic when she saw my wound. She calmly took me back to the house to clean and dress it.

Justin, my boyfriend, also gets squeamish around blood, but he’s had to act on several occasions regardless of that sentiment.

Michael, his little brother, is the kid who is always getting hurt –– he’s broken several bones. One day, the boys were playing outside, and someone threw a stick at Michael. Like an arrow to its target, the stick punctured Michael’s eye.

Justin ruined his favorite shirt that day while carrying his brother to his parents. The shirt was drenched in blood by the end of the whole ordeal.

Michael’s eye healed. Modern medicine is amazing. He’ll never forget that day, though. It would’ve been a lot worse if Justin hadn’t taken action immediately.

My philosophy is this: when someone is hurt, the first words out of your mouth shouldn’t be, “this is bad.” Be calm. Act quickly and efficiently, and try not to make the victim any more scared than they already are. You can go hurl to your heart’s content later if need be. (Maybe that’s the former lifeguard in me coming out.)

Sometimes I think maybe I just get squeamish about myself, because the idea of getting surgery also horrifies me. If I need it, I’m going to ask the doctor to knock me out. Too bad I won’t be able to do that for childbirth someday.

Vaccines are also a tricky thing for me. As long as I’m not watching the needle go in, though, I’m generally OK. I won’t lie –– it does bother me, but I’ve found ways to distract myself until it’s done.

Speaking of shots, I got my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday. Just thinking about it made me squeamish because I was worried I’d have side effects.

And, I did. The next day, my whole body was sore, I had a raging headache and upset stomach, and I couldn’t decide if I was hot or cold.

But vaccines are designed to help your body build its immunity defenses. My brother and I also got sick after we had a nasal injection of the swine flu vaccine. If anything, having a reaction is proof the vaccine is doing its job.

Compared to actually contracting the virus, I’ll take the side effects, and I’ll take the uncomfortable shot that comes with it. I’m thankful to have contributed my part in moving on from the coronavirus pandemic.

Just don’t ask me to look at my bloodied bandage, because I won’t.