Uh no, people, this is not a philosophical entry. Just wanna drop by and say hi to the world. I’m alive and well. A little stressed, but I think that I am holding up quite well. If I drop dead, I’m quite sure there would be an announcement somewhere in my friends’ blog, so yeah, until that happens, I’m alive and well.
Moving along to the title, I figured that it is interesting to describe some of my physical conditions, especially since it seems that quite a number of people experience this.
It is called Vasovagal Syncope. (Wikipedia entry here).
Basically this is a harmless condition that seems to crop about when I have my blood drawn. Be it 1 cc or 300 cc, I seem to be experiencing a fainting (or symptoms of it). Although it is harmless (unless you faint in front of a running car, that is – that situation will probably land you on the morgue), it does give me a nuisance, especially because it happens every time I do blood tests and blood donations.
At first I thought that I have a psychological condition with syringes. After all, a lot of people reported fear of needles (sometime so extreme they can faint on the sight of something remotely similar to needle). But then again, I remember that I used to be the ‘brave’ one in the family when it comes to shots and needles (I never cry when they do immunization shots). That of course, leave me puzzled as to what causes this condition. If it is not psychological (I have no phobias that I am aware of) then it should be physiological.
Then came the time last year (January 07) when I did my very first blood donation. I’ve always wanted to donate my blood, but the blood donation drive always coincided with something. So to cut the story short, I was taken in, passed the medical screening, had my blood pressure taken, prepped on the chair, and had my blood taken. It was probably a minute later that I first had the symptoms of fainting. Ringing sound in my ears, blackened view, and I knew that I would faint if it continued. So I did the most sensible thing, I told the nurse that I am feeling faint and they immediately stopped the donation. I was immediately put into the Trendelenburg Position (legs up on the stretcher, higher than the head) and a doctor attended to me. It took me around half an hour to stop feeling faint (I didn’t faint yet). Overall, it was quite a horrible experience.
Later on, came the blood test (July 07) . Again, the same thing happened, but this time I managed to stay sober for a longer time. The nurse got me an empty bed to lie down and left me to rest a bit. This time it was better, but I was annoyed with this condition so I asked the nurse about any medication or treatment for this. Sadly, she said that some people just had this condition. There is no treatment available. The most I can do is to drink plenty of water, enough rest, and have proper meals, and those will ‘probably’ ease the symptoms.
Riiiiiiight… *rolls eyes* You mean I’ll keep fainting for the rest of my life? -_-‘
To tell the truth, I was quite intrigued by this condition. The fact that this is not psychological condition adds to my curiosity (I can understand the loss of consciousness because of phobias, but this just leaves me puzzled), so I asked a friend of mine who is a nurse in the hospital. She handles blood sample taking and injections, so she has quite the expertise.
In short, there are a lot of things that can cause fainting. Normally a low blood pressure is the main culprit if people faint during blood donation. It can also be caused by a certain psychological conditions (which does not apply to me). She pointed me into some interesting things, and after a bit of poking my head here and there, I found that I have an extremely sensitive body that goes into Hypovolemic shock during a rapid loss of blood. Coupled with my low blood pressure when I’m not feeling very well and you get a heavy dose of fainting.
The cure? None. It just happen that my body is very sensitive to rapid blood loss. The prevention? Also none. Proper meals and plenty of water help to relieve the shock, but does not altogether eliminates it.
Oh well… I guess this is not as bad as a claustrophobia. Imagine living in Singapore with this kind of phobia where you get cramped inside the public transport EVERY single day. You’d probably have to buy a car and take the stairs to get to your office.
So, in conclusion, cherish your health and be thankful that you have your body safe and sound. But if you are one of the people out there who are just like me, do remember that when the world grows dim, you are probably fainting. Do lie down or put your head between your knees and bear with it. It won’t kill you. Trust me, I’m not dead yet =P