I faint when confronted with needles…neither sewing nor knitting gets me horizontal, mind you…it’s the medical model which brings me out of a state of consciousness. In addition…the talk or sight of blood can inspire this reaction in me as well.
I’ve known this about myself for a long time. I just kept thinking I would grow out of it.
I passed out in church on a regular basis during the Stations of the Cross. For some reason I experienced that event viscerally. Each time I felt woosy I would turn to my neighbor, (usually Cathy Meier as I recall) and announce, “I feel like I’m going to faint” to which the person would undoubably reply, “No, you won’t.” My response being the sound of skull hitting marble flooring. I still like to think of it as some sort of “estatic” religious experience. It helps me to not feel so stupid when I’m in Catholic mass and feeling lightheaded.
Once in high school I was hospitalized for this condition. I fainted in English class…ENGLISH CLASS, people. My teacher, Mr Rotter was school reknown for his lovely way of describing medieval methods of medicine and we were studying the Canterbury Tales by Geoffry Chaucer. Mr Rotter felt it important to go into detail about bloodletting and the four humors just before lunch. He was a gem. I think it was Angie Doran who picked me up off the floor. When I came to they were carrying me to the door of the classroom and the nurse was waiting with a wheelchair. From here I was led to the nurse’s office while I waiting for my mother to pick me up. She took me to the doctor. It was my 16th birthday, I remember it well because my friends came to visit me in the midst of the EEG, EKG and extended Blood Sugar tests that weekend, a REAL treat for someone with my ‘condition’ it turns out.
After all the testing the neurologist told me a few things he knew for sure. I did not have a brain tumor, I had blue eyes and that I pass out at the sight or talk of blood and needles…and that he thought I’d probably grow out of it.
Yet, here it is, 24 years later and I still have this condition. It reared it’s ugly head when I got my “ink” last month. I really thought I could just skirt the issue since the tattoo was on my back and I would not be able to SEE what was happening. I did quite well until the moment when Rodney was putting the stencil on my back….yes, the stencil…which did not even require a needle or blood…oy. Being a “phobia” though, I guess it makes sense that the ins and outs would reach outside the bounds of logic.
I did not end up fainting however…for the first time ever in my life I got a very good piece of advice when I got woozy and sat down to put my head between my knees, my usual repsonse. Rodney told me to sit up, to keep the blood working hard to reach my brain. This was a revelation to me and for the first time when getting the woozy, fainty feeling in response to the needle, I did not faint.
This triggered in me a new desire to figure out JUST what it is that bothers me. Thanks to the internet I NOW know that what I have is called Trypanophobia. It sounds like an angry relative of other phobias doesn’t it?
I also discovered that Rodney is a wise man. Whilst other phobias cause an increase in blood pressure, a normal stress response, MY phobia causes the blood pressure to drop to nothing, causing the loss of consciousness. In EXTREME cases, this phobia might actually KILL a person. Yeah, I know, of all the stinkin phobias in the world I have one that could kill a person…yowza.
So the advice to sit up, may have saved my life (ok, that’s probably a stretch…I admit) at the very least it saved my poor aching skull. Live and learn.