Yesterday I reached a great milestone in my life. It is probably very silly to most people, but to me, it's huge. Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I had my blood drawn without passing out.
I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous. But passing out has become a very unwelcome part of my life over the past ten years or so. It has become a psychological problem for me, to the extent that even intense anxiety could cause me to pass out.
But passing out doesn't seem so bad, right? Well, it isn't....for normal people. When normal people pass out, they go limp and fall over, then just lie there. Not me. Ooohh no. I am very special when it comes to passing out. I am part of a minority of the public that when passed out, we appear as if we're having a seizure. Yes--I jerk around, stiffen body parts, and best of all, make this really unattractive sound out of my throat. My mouth hangs wide open and others have told me it sounds like I'm snoring.
Even with all of that, passing out in general is not a pleasant experience. Just before passing out, I know it's coming. The room closes in and slowly goes darker and darker. Then...nothing. When I wake up after passing out, I feel as though I'm waking from the deepest sleep of my life. I open my eyes and the room comes to focus slowly, while all other noises seem like murmurs in the background. It is the most confusing feeling, thinking, "Where am I? What is going on? Why am I lying on the floor?" The realization of what has just occurred hits me about sixty seconds after waking up.
The passing out episodes began when I was fifteen and had my blood drawn for the first time. Then I passed out in high school while getting first aid certified in one of my classes. We were watching a video on how to take care of wounds. The video was in the middle of showing a girl with a huge hunk of glass sticking out of her bloody arm and how to wrap bandages around it, when...BOOM. I was gone . Of course this event was humiliating, given the "special" way in which I pass out. Every other time I've had to get my blood drawn, I've passed out, and my mom would then pull the car up while the nurse wheeled me out in a wheelchair. Awesome.
As it progressed and became more psychological, I passed out a few times when sitting by the toilet, feeling like I was about to be ill. Throwing up has always been a phobia of mine, and just sitting there thinking about it, I'd psych myself up so much that I'd end up passing out. Then there's the time I passed out IN A MOVIE THEATRE while watching a little boy's arm being amputated. Once again...making an idiot of myself in public. The last time I passed out, I was fortunate---I was living alone in my rented house when I sliced my finger open on the inside of a pop can. I could sense that I was about to pass out and layed down on my bed just in time. But when I woke up and went to the bathroom to clean and bandage my finger...it happened again. I woke up this time on the bathroom floor of my very tiny bathroom, my head just inches from the toilet and the shower. God was watching over me on that one.
Before I went in to do my blood work yesterday, I took a prescription (ativan) my doctor gave me to help me relax during the procedure. I could definitely feel it working. Matt came with me, as clearly I've never been able to get behind the wheel after passing out. I warned the nurse of everything she could expect and told her I'd never had blood drawn and not passed out. She was so kind...just the nurse I'd prayed for! She had me lying down and she even had to poke me twice before getting my blood. Matt squeezed my feet (at my request). I never even felt I was in the beginning stages of passing out. The nurse let me stay lying down for a few minutes, then sit up slowly and stay there for another moment, then swing my legs off the table and stay like that for several more moments. I think the meds helped the most, but I had a feeling that somehow this was going to be my first "victory," so to speak. I even hugged the nurse!
Matt was a little disappointed that he didn't witness my jerking, stiffening of the limbs, and noises he's always heard about. He credits my not passing out to him being there! I feel so optimistic now about my ability to get over this psychological nonsense. How could I go through pregnancy/childbirth, or take care of my injured children with this problem!? I feel very hopeful that yesterday was the beginning of the end of my journey with painfully embarrassing passing out episodes.