Friday, February 22, 2013

Feeling faint

I'm a surgeon. But I admit it, I'm also a fainter. Unfortunately, this can be at tricky combination.

My first fainting episode occurred my senior year of high school. We (the student council) were planning a blood drive. We were watching a video describing this awesome and charitable act of donation. As a council we decided we would all donate. I was terrified. Maybe it had to do "with a bad experience as a child" that I had during a blood draw. Regardless of the cause, just thinking about the blood leaving my body was enough to make me run to the bathroom. The video didn't even show any blood.

I've learned over the years that the desire to flee to the bathroom is a warning sign for syncope. I didn't know that then. I did know I felt hot and sweaty. And then I felt sick. I ran to the women's room. I remember crouching over the toilet thinking I was going to vomit. 

Then I woke up lying flat on the bathroom floor (gross!). I felt sweaty and confused, really sleepy and dazed. There was a girl with curly brown hair in there washing her hands at the sink. I guess she didn't think it was weird to see a girl lying on the floor? I later asked her about it but she denied ever seeing me. I wondered if she was too embarrassed to admit it because I remember being right in the way to the door.

I felt so tired I had a hard time getting up. Finally, I walked out of the bathroom and ran into my good friend Miranda. She was leaving early for a doctor's appointment and strangely enough just happened to walk by at the exact right time. I think she could tell something was wrong. She asked what I was doing and I told her, "It is the funniest thing...I feel asleep on the bathroom floor!"

She walked me back to my classroom and my teacher called my mom to come get me. Unfortunately, I not only was confused, but had hit my head (with some minor bleeding) and had lost control of my bladder (sorry for whomever had to clean that up in the bathroom or who came upon it--I never thought of that until now) which was kind of embarrassing looking back on it. I think the student council members kept asking me if I peed my pants. I told them I think I just fell asleep in a puddle of water. I really believed it (so wasn't ashamed then), but they weren't buying it.  (Thanks for being so gracious you guys! Maybe in high school your brain isn't developed enough to have compassion on someone with a head injury? Somehow to a bunch of 17 year olds, urine soaked pants was more concerning than my bleeding head. This makes me laugh now.) I feel lucky I was clueless and concussed at the time because I would have been mortified.

I went to the doctor and they thought I could have potentially had a seizure but they weren't sure since no one saw the incident. Everything else seemed okay. I still have a bump on my head from that day and I had a bald spot there for years.

I gathered up all my courage a few days later for the blood drive. I was even more worried after my fall and I felt equally horrible afterward. My sister, my friend Cami, and I all felt pretty sick. I think each of us took turns lying on the ground to prevent another fainting episode while trying to walk home until I think someone called our parents. 

Luckily I made it through high school without any more incidences.


Mom said...

You're on a memory roll. It's been fun to relive it all.

Tawnya said...

Awesome! Seriously!! They couldn't get over you peeing your pants but they didn't think it at all odd that you were bleeding from your head or that you "fell asleep" on the bathroom floor?!! Wow, teenagers...