Oh friends of all sorts, I made a poor decision today that was nearly void of any shred of logic.. I am going to blame the pain medication for my reckless abandonment of common sense, but really I’m just a goofball. My poor mother worries about me for good reason sometimes. The only shred of logic: when I braid my long hair, it stays nice and neat and not getting sweaty around my face and neck. I don’t like that.
I am currently hospitalized for a jumble of painful and irritating problems which include dehydration and abdominal pain. Lately when I stand, I tend get a little lightheaded. The length of these episodes vary greatly, so I’ve gotten pretty good at coping with questionable balance and vision. Sometimes, however, I get too focused on something, my breathing gets off, and I have to sit down fast.
So I was very focused on keeping myself upright and getting those braids done neatly. REALLY focused on those braids. and I was chatting away with my nurse about something or other before I suddenly felt a little warm and tingly around the ears. That’s a good warning sign. I started moving toward a chair, and I remember saying a naughty word as my vision went out…
While I was semi-conscious and unable to respond to anything, I felt the lovely ladies of the “Rapid Response Team” start rearranging my limbs somehow, and eventually I woke up in bed with everyone standing around me checking vital signs and trying to get me to talk.
My poor nurse. I think her last day of work was more exciting than she expected. And she thought I’d be one of her easy patients. Ha!
So here’s my lesson of the day:
When you’re dizzy, dehydrated, and doped up, DO NOT push your physical limits. Get some help.
Imagine what you would tell the most wonderful person you know dealing with a similar situation. Follow that advice.
Standing by the bathroom mirror trying to get some nice pigtails together: not worth the trouble. Getting up to go to the bathroom too quickly, or alone when you know someone should help you get there: not worth the trouble. Stop telling yourself that you have to be better than everyone else at handling physical challenges. My mishap resulted in some nice knowledge, though:
First of all, I learned about the Vagus Nerve. Here’s a clip from Wikipedia’s article (because it’s confusing and I can’t explain it effectively):
Activation of the vagus nerve typically leads to a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, or both. This occurs commonly in the setting of gastrointestinal illness such as viral gastroenteritis or acute cholecystitis, or in response to other stimuli, including carotid sinus massage, Valsalva maneuver, orpain from any cause, in particular, having blood drawn. When the circulatory changes are great enough, vasovagal syncope results. Relative dehydration tends to amplify these responses.
What I got out of it… don’t stand funny with your had sideways or crumpled up under any circumstances for any significant length of time, especially while you are dehydrated, malnourished, and drugged. It can also make you pass out in the bathroom. Just throwing that out there. Look up that Wikipedia article if you’re curious.
Here’s some Fall Risk Advice straight from the Rapid Response team to you, dear readers, for whenever you are physically malfunctioning:
1. Always wear non-skid socks.
2. Move with greater caution while you are under medications that help you relax.
3. After tests and procedures, ask for help if you need to use the bathroom. You’re less steady than you think you are! Nurses would rather help you up and escort you around than let you accidentally injure yourself.
4. Always rise slowly. Maybe sit on the bed for a few minutes while your body adjusts to a moderate positional change, and then stand slowly near some support.
5. Find the nearest wall, and slide down. Much better than falling straight forward on your hands and knees. Extra Bonus: You won’t hit your head on the wall on your way down.
6. Be aware of all your tubes and cords. Your IV pole is your best friend and worst enemy sometimes. So many things to make you stumble! When you’re walking around with it, just make sure any dangling loops of tubing or electrical wires are looped on any hooks that might be provided, or just use the empty IV hooks on top.
Sometime I’d like to hear about dumb things you guys have done while doped up.