Saturday, August 4, 2012

Visiting the Other Side

Today, I'm going to take you on a little journey; a journey to the other side. It's a journey I've taken scores of times, so I'll hopefully be a pretty good guide.

The journey to the other side begins with knowledge; knowledge of the impending pinch. It's not terribly painful, you already know this, but it begins the journey regardless. You're instructed to lie down, which of course, you know is wise, but will not alter your travel plans.

"You're going to feel a pinch," you hear.

Then you feel it. Not that bad. Really. Maybe, you think. Maybe I can will myself to stay here.

And then it begins. A slight, almost imperceptible spinning in your head. It is so subtle that you tell yourself that it's not real, it is just your expectation of what would happen and not an actual feeling. Then a more concrete feeling of nausea begins to take hold and you realize that your journey has not been canceled. Your vision changes slightly as the brightest areas of your vision seem to darken into purple. Then, the wave of discomfort, like the worst nausea ever... times ten. Now you try to let go, knowing that it is the only thing that can take this horrible feeling away.

Now, in an instant, you are on the other side. You have no memory of where you were a moment ago. You are someplace else, someplace real. It is not a dream. This world is strange, but real.

And then it starts to fade. You feel yourself being pulled away. You hear voices, but don't know who they are. You feel someone touching your face, hear someone calling your name. You try to make sense of the sensations, try to figure out where you are. Slowly, very slowly, you begin to remember where you are. You realize you've been dreaming. And just as you do when waking from a normal dream, you grasp for the dreams, if only just to remember them. They were so vivid that you want to at least remember them. But unlike your normal dreams, they are gone. You're not even fully conscious yet, but you cannot remember anything about where you thought you were just two seconds earlier, only that they were so vivid that you were certain that they were real.

The dream state fades. The queasiness that started this journey returns, only with greatly reduced intensity than before. You look at the faces around you and wonder how long you were "gone." What felt like 15 minutes was probably seconds.

"Welcome back," they say. "Feeling better?"

Feeling better? Yes. But man, I'd love it if next time I could just pass on this whole experience.


Yesterday I had a suspicious mole on my shoulder and another suspicious "skin thing" near my eye biopsied. Dermatologist wasn't particular worried, but thought we should do the biopsies to be sure, especially on the "eye thing." (He probably used an official term, I wasn't really listening.)

At least since I was 10 years old, probably earlier, I have fainted after nearly every shot I've received. I've also fainted when my cat was in a fight and had a gaping wound in his neck, while reading a book in 6th grade about surgery, while watching a movie in 8th grade where I passed out onto the lap of the boy sitting next to me, and on and on. So when I need to have a needle stuck into me (like when getting an IV before giving birth or getting a biopsy), I pretty much know what's going to happen. I find it humorous how often I still need to convince people that it's going to happen. (I know the TB test won't hurt. Trust me, I'm still going to faint.) I'm 38. I've done this a few times.

But even though I know it's coming, I still hate it. I HATE that HORRIBLE feeling right before it happens. It's really bad. I hate being the high maintenance patient that has to lie down for a simple blood draw. I hate that I feel like an idiot when I come to because I don't really know where I am. I hate that I feel like an idiot when it's really out of my control. I hate that everyone tells me "it's all in my head." Great, and how does that help me? Also, random person on the street, please tell me how much you actually know about vasovagal syncope. I've kind of been dealing with it for three decades.

Yesterday, I hated it so much more. Yesterday, I didn't just faint. I fainted 4 times! I kept waking up, only to feel a bit better and then be completely overcome with the same sensation and go right back out again. When I woke up the fourth time, it was because I was vomiting. Lovely. Also, that's never happened before. Normally, I wake up and am back to normal in about 10 minutes. Yesterday, 30 minutes later I was still sitting in the doctor's office feeling "off." I decided to go home and nap instead of going back to work. Even at 10 pm I still felt not 100%.

Today, I am mostly better. Today, I am hoping that this is all ado over nothing. Biopsy results in 14 days. Again, the doc wasn't terribly concerned, I'm not really concerned, but fingers crossed anyway.


Gilsner said...

Oh No! That does NOT sound fun... And not nearly as romantic as how fainting is portrayed on movies. Don't worry though, it happens. I have a friend who I can make faint just by saying something gruesome like "placenta". You're one up on her! Glad you opted for the nap... Hope you're back to yourself!

RachD said...

biopsies make me feel nauseaus and i have that feeling faint at every needle so having a nap such a good idea elevate your feet and drink something sweet or ginger beer and a decent chocolate as a reward for going through it

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