Cut to 20 years ago. November 2004. College. The night W got reelected. I was sick as a dog. Strep throat. My then girlfriend, now wife was fucking livid (I think she still curses Nader voters in the night). She was going on a walk. I remember being too sick to even do that.
At some point in the night, I woke up to go puke. There was like a cheap Linens & Things bath stand in the way of the toilet, and I slipped on it and planted my face on the porcelain bowl. Put a big gash in my face. Girlfriend ran in as soon as she heard the noise and put me in the shower, thinking she should wash the blood off.
As soon as the water hit the wound….nothing…..
I wake up and my girlfriend is on the floor of the shower with me. I had apparently hit my head on teh way down.
Ended up keeping me awake to go to the on campus medical unit. Took an EKG, turned out just fine. Gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way.
And that was it. I had a scar on my face for a bit, but it faded away. It just became one of those “Oh yeah I blacked out in college. Type of stories.
Cut to Sunday. Cut a gash into my left hand peeling potatoes for Easter dinner. I put some gauze on it, cooking glove, and got back out there.
Woke up the next morning. I was trying to get the gauze off and it was proving to be…difficult. In hindsight i should have just stopped the bleeding and put a bandaid on it. But I wanted to get back to cooking. I also should have had breakfast that morning.
I finally got the gauze off and the wound reopened. I remember looking into it. Telling my wife I didn’t feel good, and then nothing. I woke up to my wife holding me and screaming how do I unlock my phone to dial 911.
Vasovagal Syncope is a neurological reflex when the brain gets a certain stimuli and decides to shut down…faint. You faint. I faint when I see an open wound.
It’s not psychological, its neurological. Like my brain sees an open wound and just decides to turn off the lights. And it has to be a wound approximate to me. I have seen 1000 gory ass horror movies, and I have had a tons of blood draws for tests. Never had a problem. Nope, this is real specific. I have to be in the presence of an active wound.
Turns out when I passed out, I fell onto a steel laundry basket in our bathroom. My wife legit thought I was dead. I had wounds on the back of my head, down my arm. When I sat up I was covered in blood.
I was delirious and emotional. All I kept thinking was that I let the whole world down. The paramedics showed up to a sight. A man in his drawers, crying, covered in blood, still bleeding from the head, hands, ear, and arm. My vitals were good, but it was my general weakness that got me a ride in the ambulance. My first in my life.
One of the ways I got super lucky, no one was around. First day back from spring break, so presumably, people were mostly in hospitals in resort towns. My hospital was empty. Took me right to a room: bloodwork, EKG, head CT. All came back fine.
Truthfully, I was fine once they gave me a full saline bag. I ended up walking out of the hospital 3 hours later.
In addition to being grateful that the hospital was empty and that I had no permanent damage, I am also grateful that I have a name to my condition. There was a fair 5-10 seconds where I could have sat on the ground if I knew it was coming.
And this way I know for the future. So far my only triggers seem to be wound related so I will keep that in mind. But I suppose, other things could do it.
I think its easy for this to be something to make fun of. Grown man faints at the sight of a wound. I have to manage that most damnable of words these days, triggers. I mean the name of the condition has something that sounds like vagina in it.
But the way I see it, there are much worse things I could have. It could have been a major heart issue. Or like a fucking tumor. Hell I could have given myself a brain bleed. None of that was the case.
And hell this is life. Everyone got something wrong with them. In the land of things that have a fancy name that I could have, this is light weight.
To be honest, I am just glad for another day. My wife has told me just about every day this week that she thought I was dead on impact. Cause I guess she has seen enough of those murder shows where someone hits their head and dies instantly.
But nope, can’t get rid of me that easily. I will linger on. Small things to manage. And I can manage it.