Torture chambers? Fainting – a medical mystery


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One from the archives – I wrote this blog back when I was on ‘Myspace‘ (remember that? lol) I thought I would share it…

For most people the occasional ‘faint’ is not a big issue and is usually a rare occasion in any case. Me, being akward as always, I have to complicate things.
As a child I would faint regularly, often for no apparent reason, but my fainting spells were nothing compared to the migraines that would keep me off school for 2 days at a time… but I digress… while the migraines failed to improve with age it seemed the fainting did, or at least it wasn’t so often, but gradually the individual instances became rather more disturbing…

The first time it got freaky the kids were still little and I was doing some cutting out for them with rather sharp scissors when I slipped stabbing the scissors into my own finger, as I removed the scissors shocked the blood started to well up then ‘bang’ lights out…
When I came to hubby and kids were panicking and hubby got straight on the phone to the GP before I knew what had happened. I thought I had just fainted, not uncommon for me but it turns out I had had a seizure, now I’d never had one before myself but wasn’t concerened due to hubby and son both having epilepsy but it was a bit wierd. So, I saw the GP and he wasn’t too bothered every one is entitled to one seizure without concern, if it happens again then it needs investigating.

Well it happened twice more over the next year and I was sent for tests, CT scans and EEGs all came back normal, I do not have epilepsy. These seizures were put down as ‘chance’ occurences.

It wasn’t until my son was seen by a neurologist in 2003 after his epilepsy got worse that things started to make sense. While taking the family history this doctor provided the answer to my unexplained seizures. It turns out I have a fairly unusual, but not uncommon, condition, not usually serious, but a bit wierd. I suffer vasovagal syncope and reflex anoxic seizures (RAS). Basically in vasovagal syncope the heart rate goes down or may even stop for several seconds (bradycardia) and the blood pressure drops sharply (hypotension)In effect, the reflex has shut down the body’s blood circulation! When this happens insufficient oxygenated blood is pumped to the brain leading to dizziness and fainting… In RAS any unexpected stimulus, such as pain, shock, fright, causes the heart and breathing to stop, the eyes to roll up into the head, the complexion to become deathly white/grey, often blue around the mouth and under the eyes, the jaw to clench and the body to stiffen, sometimes the arms and legs jerk. After 30 seconds or so, the body relaxes, the heart and breathing resume and the person is unconscious… If you are interested you can find out more at

So mostly I am OK but if I have a ‘shock’ it is likely I will have one of my ‘seizures’ freaky or what? Here are a couple of situations where I have had one of these incidents…
On a night out with college mates I had 4 bacardi breezers. It had been a while since I had drunk any alcohol, but 4 is not a lot (is it?), still I picked up my fifth and after taking a sip I felt ‘wierd’ I remember trying to tell my friend, when I woke up I was in hospital. This was before my diagnosis and the hospital staf would not believe I had only drunk 4 BB’s they said I had alcohol poisoning due to drinking too much!!!

Another time I was dismantling a cabin bed and dropped the mattress base from about 3ft in the air unto my foot. The board was 3ft by 6ft and about an inch deep, so you can imagine how heavy it was! My poor daughter had to sort me out on her own as we were the only ones home, after two episodes I was able to call my brother in law to run me up the hospital to get my now huge foot xrayed… turned out there were no broken bones!!!

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One comment on “Torture chambers? Fainting – a medical mystery

  1. Pingback: #30dayblog – Day 8 – Picture This « Day in the life of a Busy Gal…

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