Sunday, October 20, 2013

Don’t Hold Your Breath (or The Day I Fainted Twice)

You know how just about everybody knows what they’re meant to do if they feel faint? We’re all told in school that you should sit with your head between your knees in the event that you feel light-headed. But, as I learnt the other day, if you have no idea what feeling faint feels like, it doesn’t really help.

To commemorate my first day out since the surgery, my boyfriend and I decided to go to a nearby restaurant following my surgical appointment. Unfortunately for me, the restaurant I’d decided on was full, so we ended up walking around closer to my flat until we found one which had decent seats (sitting down in chairs makes my legs very stiff, to the point that I almost can’t walk when I get back out of the chair) and space.

We ordered a bottle of Malbec, which made for pleasant drinking, and, by the time we finished dinner, I had just about managed two large glasses. Possibly not a wise choice given that I still had to walk back to my flat and up four flights of stairs on crutches.
The walk back turned out to be pretty hard. My arms were tired, while my lower back muscles had already seen a lot of use when we were walking from restaurant to restaurant. By the time I made it back to the front door of my building, I was in tears. Not from pain, but because the walk had taken a lot of effort.

I still managed to make it up the stairs in a decent amount of time. As long as I can use my arms to pull myself up, the weight on my legs isn’t so bad. Once I got through my flat door, I collapsed into my bed, and fell into a deep sleep for close to an hour.

I was woken up by the urge to use the bathroom shortly before midnight. I sat up, groggily, got my bearings, and walked to the bathroom, sans crutches. My head was spinning by the time I sat down, and I thought to myself, just get back to bed and you’ll be fine.

I got to my feet, took a couple of steps, and then, I just wasn’t able to hold myself up any more and toppled backwards with an all mighty crash. My boyfriend rushed to the bathroom and helped me sit up. I was pale and sweating profusely. I put my head down for as long as I could bear it. My knees still couldn’t bend that comfortably, so I couldn’t do it for too long. Then, I struggled to my feet with my boyfriend’s help and did my best to get to the bed.

Next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor of my bedroom, curled up in a fetal position. I didn’t remember anything after getting up. My boyfriend had been supporting me the whole time, so he managed to catch me and lower me to the floor when I fainted the second time.

I lay in bed for the next hour just trying to regain my composure. I didn’t think I was hurt, but I sure did think I was going to be pretty sore the next day. And, of course, my confidence had taken a big knock. I thought it was the over-exertion that had caused the fainting spell, and was very worried about the next time I left my flat, because leaving meant having to descend and ascend four flights of stairs.

I let my surgeon know about the incident and he told me to stay off the alcohol for the next few weeks. It turns out that alcohol lowers your blood pressure, and, that, combined with the stress I had put my body through that day, had resulted in my passing out.

The fact that I tend to hold my breath when doing something difficult – such as getting back on my feet after a fall – probably didn’t help!

That being said, I wasn’t that sore the next day, and managed to do my exercises and walk around inside my flat without crutches. I even tried a couple of Sun Salutations just to get over my fear. Two days after the incident, I wasn’t scared anymore.

I still haven’t left my flat, but that’s for another day.

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