Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oh My Stars

So, I had my appointment with the fancy-shmancy NoCo ENT this morning. And it all went very well, except for the part where I swooned and blacked-out a teeny bit for an hour. That part was less than successful.

Apparently, I had a "vasovagal episode" while she had her little camera up my nose. I know that sounds vaguely vaginal, but it's not. It's like fainting. One minute I was thinking "I don't really care for this tube being all up in my brain" and doing surprisingly painful things like "saying the letter E." The next minute, everything went black and I heard myself say, as if from a great distance, "I don't feel so well..." and suddenly someone slammed my chair backwards and down, a bright line shined in my eyes, an ice pack dropped onto my forehead, and I heard the "scriiiitch" of a blood pressure cuff as it wrapped around my arm.

The doctor and her nurse told me not to worry, and to think nice thoughts, but I could hear myself making plaintive little noises, like I was about to cry but couldn't quite get there. I was scared. Nurse Jill massaged my arms, and I realized that both my hands were completely numb and my arms were tingling. I couldn't catch my breath, and my stomach hurt really bad--possibly from the poisonous-tasting stuff she had squirted up my nose before the scope followed. (I guess it's supposed to numb you.) I mumbled "I'm such a drama queen!" and felt really embarrassed.

Jill started telling me about a "huge dude" they'd had in recently who jumped out of the chair afterward, only to hit the ground like a sack of potatoes seconds later. "And this guy was totally unconscious, and NOT BREATHING." She told me she started yelling "Holy @#$%, he's dead!" and was it my imagination, or did she sound a little disappointed when he turned out not to be? At any rate, I felt a bit better about my own display--at least I had stayed in the chair.

She tried to hoist me up about 10 minutes later, but I got all swoony, so back down I went. Doc came back in and asked me if I'd eaten anything today, and I murmured "An English muffin," which for some reason sounded really stupid to me. When I finally sat up, Jill had brought me an apple juice box (which made me feel like Jarrah) and a bite-sized chunk of bagel (why only a chunk? They didn't want to add any yakking to the morning's festivities?) "Here," said Jill. "I hate apple juice. Disgusting. But drink it anyway." Weirdly, her particular brand of bedside manner worked for me, as I ended up laughing weakly and not thinking about my delicate sensibilities. (Earlier, when I was of sound mind, she had regaled me with stories about the Australian horse-racing circuit, where the jockeys "all drink and smoke and @#$%, and the horses have names like @#$%& and &*%$" and I was all like "WHAT?")

When I was able to sit up entirely, Doc came back and walked me through the National Geographic special inside my nose, which was actually kind of cool, especially since it looked pretty normal to me (and her, which is what counts.) No polyps (ick), no deviated septum, no disgusting litany of symptoms that might indicate an infection. Now I need more tests on my sinuses and allergies before she can diagnose me, but I'm actually quite surprised I don't share my dad's nasal passages. I have always believed that was his special legacy to me. Also, right before Jill squirted the poison into my nostrils, she commented "Damn, you have a fine-looking nose. The kind someone might ask for if they were getting a nose job." "Mmm-hmmm." I smiled. "I've always thought my nose was pretty nice...on the OUTSIDE."

David told me that what happened has something to do with tigers or bears, when they try to eat you--it's better to have a lot of blood and oxygen near your heart, where it can keep you alive, rather than serving no purpose in your head, hands and feet. And I Wiki'd "vasovagal episode" when I got home, discovering that there many reasons they happen, including "pressing on the sinuses, throat or eyes." I'm guessing that's what happened, because while one of the other options was "stressful medical procedure" my Readers can't imagine the sheer glut of stressful medical procedures I've endured in the past five years, most of them unsedated, and while I sobbed and screamed a few choice epiphets and may have tried to kill a medical professional or two, I never felt the least bit faint.

Which is good, because I'd like to believe this episode was out of my control. I wouldn't want anyone to think that I'm losing my edge.


Jen said...

Oh, no, my dear, you are most certainly NOT losing your edge!

What a harrowing and hilarious tale! But I do hope they figure out the sinus thing soon, you poor dear. Without any more procedures. You have had more than your share. ;-)

Miss J

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

The things that happen to you? I thought could only happen to me.

We truly are soul sisters.

Was your doctor hot? At least most of mine are hot, so there's that.

Did you get a good parking space? At least I get that, too.

I was glued to the edge of my chair for this post, you dear patient, you, with my PURPLE (yes, it is) nose glued to my monitor. You tell it so well, sister, but I'm so sorry you had to go through it.


Sam said...

@Jen: Big smooch. :)

@Cheri: Oh no, your poor nose! I did get a great parking space, but the doctor just looked like a kindly blonde lady of indeterminate age and kept disconcertingly reminding me of a coal miner, due to the big light thing attached to her head the whole time.

Marlene said...

I know this is going to sound overly-emotional (when was I *ever* that), and I know I should be saying something witty and funny, but all I could think was "Sam *has* endured so many medical things"--and I got all weepy reading it, even though it was hilarious, and I was laughing too. I hope you find out just what's going on soon, and that you feel much, much, much better.

erin said...

Ugh. That sounds horrible. I hate any illnesses, any doctors visits, anything remotely resembling anything clinical whatsoever.

At least you got a free snack out of it!

Caroline said...

Bread chunk and apple juice -- the communion of the faint. Poor thing!

You just reminded me of something I'd apparently blocked -- passing out at a routine blood test a few years back. I'd totally forgotten, but, yep, it was a lot like that, but minus the fun horse racing anecdotes.

David said...

What a horrible experience. It made ME light-headed.

This post should be called vasovagal monologue.