You’re looking at the last of the brown rice crispies and bananas with almond milk – my dinner dumped out all over the living room rug. But pretty cool that I hung onto most of my scalding hot cup of tea.
I’m here to tell you that if a grown-ass woman face plants, but there’s no one there to hear it; she most definitely still makes a sound and it absolutely still hurts and leaves a mark.
The schmancy medical term for all this is vasovagal syncope – pronounced sink-oh-pee. For me, injury to my vasovagal (which is not a sex organ, btw) happened as a result of radiation therapy. The vagus nerve acts on the blood vessels, and can cause a sharp drop in blood pressure. I already have pretty low blood pressure and when my vasovagal decides to drop it even lower, I have the superhuman ability to pass out, then come back from 0 to 100 real quick.
No big deal when I’m alone. Not dangerous, since it’s caused by sudden postural change – basically, when I get up or turn too fast. So, it can mostly be remedied by me not being a spazz. It’s just inconvenient when you’re low on groceries, and not in the mood to mop up soggy cereal. Also, it’s a little odd whenever I return to consciousness and wonder how much time actually passed during my vasovagal blip in the matrix.
When I’m in public, my face-down-ass-out routine is a real crowd getter. Like when I was in yoga class and shot up from child’s pose on my yoga mat to standing too fast. I came crashing down on a row of yogis in mid-namaste. No, no … this didn’t happen after extreme physical exertion. It happened while we were waiting for the class to start.
So, here’s something important that I’ve been wanting to say to all the friends and good Samaritans who come rushing to help me. First, I’m super grateful to these good people, so I don’t want this to sound UNgrateful. Here goes. Often, people who witness my fall like to get me back on my feet right away, and I find myself being yanked upright … and then just as fast as I got up, I come crashing down a second time. My little public service message here is to tell everyone that it’s much safer to get down on the ground and check if the passer-outer is OK from whatever level they’re already on. Typically, it’s been the case that once I lie down for a minute, everything goes back to normal and I return to fully conscious embarrassment.
There it is. I hope that in some small way, this note helps the good people who want to help, and the people (like me) who need the help. Cos it can still get me down – this surviving cancer thing.