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Have you ever fainted? I do it on a regular basis.
The first time it happened my fifth grade teacher was reading a descriptive story of a girl on horseback who got shot during the civil war. Blood gushing all over her clothes and the horse, excruciating pain, etc, etc. Next thing I knew, my ears were ringing and everything turned white – including me. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with me, but they laid me down and I got better.
A few years later, my family went to the hospital to visit a friend who had just given birth. As soon as we arrived on the parking lot, proud papa bounced out telling all about the video he had just taken of the birth of their first son. Again, the ringing ears, the light headedness, the clammy feeling. They had to lay me out in an empty parking space right there in front of the hospital. It was then that I realized what happened the first time – I couldn’t stand hearing about blood.
I tried to overcome it. The first several times I had blood drawn; conversations at the doctor’s office; the episode when my dad had minor surgery and the nurses waved ammonia under my nose while I sat with my head between my legs right beside his hospital bed. “There she goes again!” He exclaimed.
Childbirth class during the C-section video. The time I broke my finger on a collapsible chair on a crowded beach. During a vein scan while standing atop a stool. The middle of the night in my bathroom – poor Jim leaping out of bed at the sound of the crash.
I eventually overcame the blood drawing episodes – IF the nurses didn’t have to dig for my veins. I always watch closely, if they act like they don’t know what they’re doing, I warn them. I did give birth four times somehow. And then there was surgery.
As mentioned in my last post, I had a hysterectomy a few years ago. This was preceded by a DNC. After both surgeries, I was awakened by nurses and doctors yelling at me to breathe and “WAKE UP, MRS. GRAY, MRS. GRAY, CAN YOU HEAR ME? WAKE UP!!!!” As I came to I realized I was fainting at the same time and wondered how in the world I could do that flat on my back?!
I later learned that my heart rate had dropped to 17 and my blood pressure was 22/14. No wonder they were scared, I was mostly dead! They thought they were going to have to shock my heart.
A few months ago some tests proved that my gallbladder is not functioning and needs to come out. However, I’m more worried that if I have this surgery, I will not come BACK!!
And then, I got a scare and had to have a procedure yesterday to rule out possible colon cancer. I warned everyone – the doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist: “I WILL pass out while I’m asleep, BE READY!” However, I went ahead and passed out during pre-op.
The first nurse couldn’t find my veins to hook up the IV, so the second nurse took over. She stuck me – and then she dug. And dug. And dug…
I tried to warn them, so did Jim – he was on the edge of his seat, the nurse got the needle in while jabbering, and out I went. Down went the heart rate, down went the blood pressure, and everyone scrambled to get cool rags and recline my bed. That nurse had a wake up call, which prompted everyone downstairs in surgery to look out for the crazy lady who “vegals”.
My heart rate finally came back up, color was restored to my face, blood pressure returned to normal, and the nurse apologized for not taking me seriously. “Usually when people say they might pass out, they never do!” Not this girl. Not the freak of nature.
The anesthesiologist stayed right by my side during the entire procedure. Afterwards I learned that I did indeed “vegal” during surgery, and he adjusted medication accordingly. The attending nurse told me that her husband did the same thing after triple bypass, so I know it happens to others. “So it’s not something you can control!” My son exclaimed, who has had similar episodes. I think he was relieved for his manhood.
In case you’re wondering, no, I do not have colon cancer. A scope down my throat showed some abrasions that have been aggravated and those are now being treated. And now that they know about me, I think I’ll brave that gallbladder surgery. I’m thinking the pre-op episode was a good thing, designed by the Lord, who knows all things and is never surprised. In fact, I’m sure of it.
The medical term is “Vasovagal Syncope” – a brief loss of consciousness caused by a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to the brain. Just never tell me a story involving blood, and never look for me at a blood donor center.
You’d be wasting your time!!!
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