Faint

It’s time that you all know that truth: I’m a fainter. Big time. I’ve gotten to the point where I can at least anticipate it and sit down when I feel the urge. I really should look into more fainting couches to scatter through the house, but they’ve become a bit passe along with the falling-out-of-favor of corsets.

Don’t worry. After that time when I fainted while making risotto (you have to stand there and stir it for a really, really long time), I had myself checked out, and there’s nothing wrong with me other than “cardiogenic vasovagal syncope,” a.k.a., a tendency to faint at the least provocation.

These days, the only time that I’m truly at risk of a full on pass-out is if I accidentally see my own blood during a medical procedure or blood draw. Just for fun, let’s review what can happen if I see my own blood, shall we?

Here is a list of times when I passed out seeing my own blood:

  1. In high school, at the spring blood drive in the gym my senior year. I was 18 and, therefore, eligible to participate. I was also wearing a cute red, polka dot dress with bare legs. When I passed out across the lounge chair during my cookie time, I sort of did an awkward backbend across it, thereby flashing the rest of the gym. At least I didn’t remember it, I guess.
  2. In Genetics class in college. We had to do a finger prick to obtain a blood sample in order to isolate our DNA and photograph our chromosomes. Guys, a finger prick did me in. I remember lancing my finger and feeling fuzzy. Unfortunately, I was not yet a professional at fainting, and neglected to just sit down when I felt it coming on. Instead, I fell to the ground between the black-topped lab tables. When I came to, I was hovered over by the lab assistant and an earnest Professor Perrault offering me water, presumably from the eyewash station, presented in a permanently coffee-stained mug. I declined.
  3. By medical school, I was savvy enough to anticipate my wooziness and seat myself firmly down whenever any potential bloodletting was to occur. When it was unavoidable, I just looked away and was generally fine. Except for during blood donations, which were simply too prolonged for me to ignore. I felt pressured to be a good bimonthly blood donor, and the Blood Center was less than a block from our classrooms. I gamely went, usually having my donation abruptly halted halfway through when I started to pass out. After the third or so time that this happened, I was politely requested to not return, as they couldn’t use an incomplete donation, and I was really just wasting supplies and juice.
  4. I was somehow okay during childbirth, likely because the blood part paled in comparison to the overall horror of the rest of it.

Why, then, did I ever think I could hack it in medicine? For whatever reason, I don’t have a problem with anyone else’s blood, just my own. I guess this isn’t really such a strange thing. I tried to see if there was a word for it, but Google just came back with a lot of sites trying to help people get over the fear of their own blood. Me, I’m just kind of secretly glad to be able to avoid the pressure of donating blood. After all, they DID tell me not to come back…

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