She's a character, she has opinions.

The Near-Fainting Experience

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I like to be efficient. I don’t like to waste time or make two trips when one could do. My doctor knows this about me, which is why she once–with my permission and encouragement–scheduled me to have two MRIs at once. But yesterday I hit my wall. I’m glad I got most of it done in one trip to the hospital but I will never, ever be doing that again.

During the earlier double MRI we found lesions on my spine. This is not a thing to panic about, but it is a thing to run tests for, and did we ever run tests. I arrived at the hospital in the morning after fasting since the midnight before. I was only required to fast for four hours before my test, and as far as I knew they were drawing only four vials of blood, so I figured the extra fasting didn’t matter. I’ve never had a problem drawing that amount of blood after a 10 hour fast before, and, let’s be honest, I was not getting up at 6am on lumbar puncture day just so I could really quickly squeeze in breakfast. I’d much rather sleep in.

It took an extra-long time to check-in to the blood lab. The tech said something to me about orders taking a long time to print and wondered if I’d just seen my doctor that morning. I said no, shrugged, and went to wait my turn. When I got into the booth the techs (phlebotomists, yeah? but that’s so hard to spell so we’re saying techs) asked me if I’d ever had problems with giving blood before. No, says I. Even after fasting, they ask. Nope, all fine. Then they show me the 18 vials waiting to be filled. I was a little aghast and asked what their personal best number of vials was and they told me 36. Since it’s possible to take double the amount of blood they’re asking of me with no problems I shrug, say I’ll just be over here looking anywhere but at the needles and away we go.

You see where this is going, right?

“Are you feeling okay?”
“How do you feel?”
“How weird? What are you feeling?”
“Do you feel light-headed at all?”
“I don’t know? Maybe???”
“Get the needle out of her! We’re done!” 

So that happened.

I didn’t faint, thanks only to the techs who knew what was going on when I didn’t. These women were fast. One got cold packs and held one to the back of my neck while placing the other under my wrist. The other got my husband—“What’s your husband’s name?” “Mike???”–and a wheelchair. They brought me cool towels and water and made absolutely certain I was feeling better before they’d let me leave. It isn’t a feeling I ever want to have again, and we’ll be making sure of that by splitting up the remaining blood tests into two trips, but at least it happened in the best possible place with the best possible people.


Written by tldegray

November 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Those vampire nurses are usually my favourites! When they are good they are soooo good! I hate fainting but with the thyroidy self — at least I think that is what it is — my blood pressure falls really fast so I faint more often then I would like which would be ZERO!

    I am not very happy that you are going through all of this but I keep thinking that it is a pathway to feeling better… and you tell stories that make me grossed out and laugh and so I appreciate that!



    November 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

  2. Gross-out and laughter, just another service I provide. šŸ˜‰ That made me laugh to read and I’m still chuckling. Thank you.

    The doctor left a message yesterday saying she had some test results she wanted to talk about. I missed the call because I was asleep–as I have been since Wednesday!–so I’ll get them on Monday. Some I won’t be surprised about and others have me nervous. Here’s hoping for something treatable!


    November 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

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