May 1, 2018

vasovagal. part 1 - history

I first heard the word 'vasovagal' during a doctor's appointment when I was expecting Laddie.  The doctor completed the exam and I was sitting at the edge of the table.  'You are RH negative, which means that components of your blood could attack the baby's blood . . . '  That was all I heard.

I started to squint my eyes together VERY tight.  I got VERY sweaty and woozie.  Then I laid back on the table so I could sleep for maybe a hundred years or more.  At least that is what if felt like.

The doctor jumped up and opened the door to the exam room.  'Nurse, we got a vasovagal in here.  Let's get some orange juice.'  So there was a name for my my fainting thing.  Cool.  I had no idea.  Some people pass out at the sight of blood.  A discussion about blood was all I needed to collapse into a sweaty useless lump.

This wasn't the first 'episode'.  Sometimes the gross out factor was more intense.  Sometimes not.  I had to lay down after all the blood rushed from my head when my best friend's mom explained to me the uses and placement of a tampon.  That was appalling!

As an 8th grader, my folks agreed to get me contact lenses as a graduation gift.  Back in 1985, contact lenses were not cheap.  I was thrilled.  I hated wearing glasses.  I went to the eye doctor.  He put a contact lens in my eye and I laid my head down on the table in front of me and passed out.

I spent the next 4 years convincing myself that touching my eyeball was a normal function.  During a nerve racking eye doctor appointment weeks before my senior year in high school started, I properly inserted and removed a contact lens from my own eye.  There was lots of deep breathing on my part, and wiping away the sweat from my brow.  The doctor was very patient.  Thank God.  My mom thought she was funny.  The joke she repeated over and over was getting on my last nerve.  'Well I certainly don't want to go in the bathroom every morning before school to pick her up off the bathroom floor, because she can't get her contact lens in without passing out.'  Not helping, Mom!!

When I required a Rhogam shot (that RH negative annoyance again) while expecting Tank, I brought Ed and Lad along to the appointment.  The nurse made the mistake of alerting me that the shot would feel cold.  We should've talked about names for the baby or our plans for a beautiful summer afternoon.  Instead I focused on the shot.  The cold.  Oh, it was gross.  I had this same shot multiple times before, but this one threw me for a loop.  'I'm not OK,' I called to the nurse as I attempted to lay down of the floor of her office.

I remember being wheeled down the hall on a gurney.  The nurse had stuck the boys in a tiny room where Sesame Street was playing before administering the shot.  Apparently the hospital had a new policy that patients weren't allowed to bring children.  Because I brought them for previous shots, I had no idea about the new policy.  After my issue, I understood the rule.  I could see the backs of the boys' heads as they danced to the music.  Fortunately, they had no idea that I was down for the count.  That recovery took longer than normal.  They had huge ice bags all over my body trying to 'bring me back'.

Have I ever shared that my dad wrote me a letter every week while I was in college?  Each week he ended with the same request.  'I'd like another nurse.'  My sister was a nurse.  He was thrilled with the employment opportunities and her job security, etc.  Was he kidding?  Given my obvious medical shortcomings, this was never going to happen.  I wrote back a very simple response.  'Maybe you can look into adoption.  I am not going to become a nurse!'


Gigi said...

What a coincidence...I am RH negative too. But I don't remember being too worried about it as the doctor acted like this was a normal thing. Which I guess, by the time I was having babies it was because I distinctly remember my mother telling me that because she was RH negative the doctor warned her about having any more babies after my brother came along.

As far as the discussion about blood, I can totally see that being a thing. And yeah, it's probably best you didn't pursue a career in nursing.

Ernie said...

Mini talks about being a nurse. She had a vasovagal convulsion in kindergarten. I wasn't feeling well. She was attending afternoon kindergarten that day because of a play. I sat on the edge of my bed to brush her hair. She hated getting her hair brushed. I told her she could watch TV. Oprah was on. My hands were in her hair and the remote wasn't within reach. Oprah was talking to a woman who had been attacked by a gorilla. Her face was eaten off. Mini fell to the floor and convulsed. Lasted less than a minute. Scared me! I have never had a convulsion with it. Thus her name: Mini-Me. Not sure she will be a nurse.