I have this thing with passing out…
Normally, I wouldn’t share something like this because it is an illustration of human weakness and I like to think that I’m a robot, made of titanium, impervious to the elements.
But, yeah, that passing out thing…
It all started one fateful day in high school, during a local blood drive. Now, in my days as a rough and tumble tomboy I had my share of falls and resulting loss-of-consciousnesses. But all those faints were results of concussions, so they did not count.
On this day, I’m all hyped up, with my do-gooder cap on, ready to give blood and make a difference. I’m also at the stage in my high school career where I’ve just recently discovered Diet Coke and realized that caffeine is a good substitute for a meal in a pinch. And I was always in a pinch of a morning, since I never really woke up on time.
Scenario: Diet Coke for brekky, set free for my lunch break, show up at blood drive. First time ever giving blood. Gave it. Watched the baggie fill up, entranced (who doesn’t like to watch this?) and then open my eyes to people hovering over me. Apparently my first faint took place with me already lying down, which was handy. Though still embarrassing.
The ladies at the blood drive gave me a bunch of OJ and finally set me free, with a nice note to give to the school since I had missed half of the next class (History with Angry Vietnam Vet teacher; fainting was actually a happy alternative).
I avoided blood drives like the plague for the next few years. The closest I ever came was once, early in college, where everyone was giving blood in some annex and I had volunteered to write a little column about it for the school paper to make up for all the free movies I had seen on the paper’s dime without ever writing any reviews.
Panic attack. I started hyperventilating and going into cold sweats before they even got me the paperwork. To my great relief, my blood didn’t have enough iron in it or something. I have always suspected that they just made up some fake test for me to fail so that crazy gal in front (me) wouldn’t upset all the nice donors who were managing to give blood without any weird physiological freak-outs.
Whatever, I was safe. I caught up on all those movie reviews and printed them under the heading of “Movies You Should Have Seen,” instead of writing “Panic at the Blood Drive.”
Two years later, I’m in an EMT class and I’m required to do ten hours of clinical, five of which could be at a local ER. Since a hunky boy I’d recently started crushing on happened to work at the nearest ER, I signed myself right up.
I’m not going to lie, it was an awesome day. After proving my competency at pushing the button on the little machine that checks all the vitals for an hour, I was allowed in “the back.” I got to watch meds being pushed, psych patients being assessed, and I caught a glimpse of the ER staff working a code, though I couldn’t get very close.
Then, the guy who was showing me around (NOT the hunky boy, to my dismay) asked if I wanted to see a spinal tap.
Imagine Spanky from “Our Gang.” Now imagine him saying “boy, do I!” Now imagine he’s a female college student. You get the picture.
Halfway through the spinal tap (which I was observing ever-so-closely), I start to feel green. Bit of a cold sweat, bit of nausea, bit unsteady. I lean against the counter in the back of the room, shut my eyes for a tic, and I’m feeling better.
Then I hear a crash. And the lady who is getting the spinal tap is freaking out. And the one doc is yelling. And I can’t get my eyes to open.
And when they finally work, I’m on the floor, and my ear hurts, and a lot of people are all over me, trying to put a collar around my neck. Because I had not only fainted IN an ER, but I had also HIT A WALL on my way down.
Diet Coke brekky was involved in that one, too. Just FYI. There’s a lot to be said for Cheerios.
Third pass-out was the best, because (although I don’t have it) there was photo documentation.
That hunky guy and I (remember, the one from the ER?) got married, and decided to go to a theme park one weekend shortly after we both returned to “real life.” I wanted funnel cake and roller coasters. He, I’m sure, just wanted to bask in my magnificent presence. And funnel cake.
We both really wanted funnel cake.
So we get on this ride, one where you are suspended from above. And lucky us! We were in the front row!
The climb up to the first peak took forever. It was one of those rides where they drag it out so long people start screaming on the way up, from sheer suspense.
As we start the descent, volume around me increases to epic proportions. I hear the hunka’ Hubs yelling. I’m yelling. The little boy next to Hubs is screaming. The fifty or so people strapped in behind us are screaming. We are really, really loud. And we’re going really, really fast.
Then I wake up. At the top of the next peak.
Hubs did not believe me.
When we got off, I tried to tell him. I was convinced I had passed out during that first drop. But he’s very calm and he’s very persuasive. He almost had me convinced I had just lost my breath or something.
Until the picture.
You know how they have those motion sensor cameras on crazy rides? Usually they’re just shot after shot of some terrified shrieking face.
Picture this, if you will (We didn’t buy it. We had left our cash in a locker. Water rides…) a young man, barely into his teens on the far left, face contorted into extreme agony, scared out of his mind. Then, in the middle, a hunky, brawny man, laughing with the glee and pure pleasure you see from warriors when in the midst of extreme danger. Then, on the right. A female. Limp. Eyes rolled back in her head, half closed. Is she…
I may have been drooling. It’s hard to tell. The quality on those kinds of pictures is so bad.
And we weren’t able to buy a copy, so the world may never know.
*Thanks to K and M for sharing faint or faint-like stories with me.