I wanted to put in writing my experience getting a blood test yesterday, as it was the first time something like this had ever happened to me and was quite a unique feeling.
I had what I am fairly sure is a vasovagal syncope, when you pass out from getting blood taken. I also had a seizure-like response. The nurse said my eyes rolled back, I turned white and I convulsed.
First, the factors that might have contributed to this:
- Bit of a fear of needles. Never impacted me before. I don’t like to watch needles do their thing but I’ve never passed out in my life.
- At tail end of a cold, so I was weak and nauseous already.
- Worked out perhaps too strenuously in the morning and hadn’t eaten enough yet, felt sick already. Maybe overdoing my system.
During the blood draw, here is the timeline of my experience:
- Needle goes in, hurts a little more than usual, oh well. I think about Warhammer and look the other way.
- Nurse says my blood is drawing very slowly and she repositions the needle a couple of times.
- Nurse still saying how slowly my blood is drawing. This is starting to concern me.
- Very slow process and the most painful blood test I’ve had so far. I’m starting to freak out a bit in my head and ramp up my Warhammer thoughts to drown out the experience.
- I shut my eyes and think of Warhammer very hard toward the end, as it was quite painful at this point.
- She finishes, pulls the needle out and gives me the cloth or whatever to apply pressure to the spot. I reach over with my arm to do so.
- I remember a wave hitting me at this point and it’s where I went out.
- During the syncope, I remember vibrating extremely hard and the last word I had been thinking about — “Kharadron,” a Warhammer name — repeating over and over in my head in a distorted way. I wasn’t completely unaware of myself. It felt like I was in a non-lucid dream, where I had a sense I existed but had no control over anything, and my perception was complete darkness, repetition of that word and vibrations. At some point I remember thinking that I was experiencing true reality, or something like that. I remember thinking “Ah, now I’m in the real existence; anything else was a dream.”
- I opened my eyes, after about a minute, looking at the nurse, who was now sitting beside me, rubbing my arm and saying my name. My very first thought was the nurse was a dream and my syncope perception had been real life. But I quickly figured out something must have happened to me when I noticed the other nurse in front of me getting an oxygen mask out.
- From here, I felt very sick, on the verge of throwing up, and I honestly think I might have pissed myself if the episode lasted much longer. Felt like I lost complete muscle control. I was breathing very hard and shaking for a few minutes. They had me lie down, drink water and eat a piece of bread and I started to feel better. Within 15 minutes, I felt pretty much back to normal but a bit lightheaded and nauseous still.
Overall, I liken the episode to a bad drug trip, or even some kind of crazy religious experience. The scariest part for me was total loss of control. I don’t even like having a beer anymore because I hate the feeling of not having complete, sober control. This was the worst drug trip, where I was at the mercy of whatever was going to happen. It truly felt like I died and came back to life.
That haunted me for the rest of the day. If I break my arm, it will hurt but I can think about it and call an ambulance. I’m not worried about those kind of health emergencies. This is like being slipped a drug against your will and without your knowledge, a true affront to me personally. The terrifying part is you’re defenceless, in both being able to be prepared for it and managing it during the episode. I have great empathy now for people who experience seizures regularly.
Anyway, I think it happened because of many factors, which I wrote above. I don’t think this is going to happen to me just walking down the street, so I’m not too worried. All in all, it was interesting to experience and something to think about anyway. Liven up the day a little!
Here’s a Kharadron Overlord I started working on last night after a nap.