Monday, September 26, 2011

Passing Out

Few things are as scary to parents as seeing their child faint and crumple to the ground. We've experienced this many times. Alex had the tendency to pass out when he was between the ages of 1 and 3. When he got hurt he would let out a huge cry, then take a long break, forget to breath, and then he would pass out. I hated it. But he seems to have outgrown it, thankfully.

Now, it's Marissa. Hers is less of a forgetting to breath problem and more of a response to getting hurt problem. The problem is that she gets hurt a lot. Like almost daily. She is brave and daring and only three, so she falls, trips and injures herself frequently. When this happens there is a very good chance that she will pass out. Just her body's way of dealing with pain. Usually she lets out a cry, but not her normal cry, her "I'm going to pass out" cry. The one that Jared and I have come to recognize and instinctively know to come running. Then she loses consciousness for about 20 seconds, while we urge her to please wake up. When she does, she is usually pale and weak for a little bit, and sometimes she wets her pants while she is out. More often than not she is ready just minutes later to be the daredevil that she was before.

In the last 10 days she has passed out six times, that I can recall. Once she fell down the stairs, once her fingers got pinched in the door, once she got stepped on, once she tripped on something. One of the worst of these times was when she got hit in the mouth with a mop handle while she was standing on the couch. It wasn't so bad until she passed out, fell onto the mop and hit her head on the floor. That's what makes me most nervous. It's not so much the passing out, it's what might happen to her after she does. What if she's in the bathtub or the pool? What if she's on the sidewalk and cracks her head open? What if she's at the top of the stairs and tumbles all the way down? What if I'm not around? I don't like it. Is it any wonder that I've been praying for angels to watch over my children lately?

I looked up why kids pass out and this is what I found:

What causes the “common faint” is actually a kind of reflex that is theoretically hard-wired into all humans, and, in fact, many mammals. When we use the word “reflex”, we refer to an automatic reaction by the body to a particular stimulus.

In this instance, the automatic reaction is a sudden drop in heart rate or blood pressure, as mentioned above. The provocative stimulus most commonly is an exaggerated and sudden adrenalin effect on the heart due to any of a variety of events:
  • Posture-related pooling of the circulating blood volume while sitting or standing for prolonged periods
  • Unexpected minor trauma; the sight of blood or injury (“blood/injury syncope”)
  • Even listening to a discussion of frightening or graphic subjects
In her case, it's the unexpected minor trauma that triggers this response, which seems to be fairly common. So common that it was evidently passed on from her parents.

Jared has an interesting history with passing out. He was able to watch my entire c-section--the blood gushing, my uterus being pulled out of my body and then getting stitched up on the outside of my stomach--and he was absolutely fine, no problems. But then he'll do something like stub his toe or pinch his finger and he will pass out. One time we were at Burger King where he bit his tongue and passed out. It's true, you can't make this stuff up. It's not that these events are that painful, it's just his body's response to minor trauma.

His best passing out story occurred in one of his college labs. In an attempt to raise his chair up his finger got pinched between the armrest and the table. He laid his head on the table, passed out, and proceeded to slide off the table because the chair was, unfortunately, a rolling one. At that point, his head hit the hard floor and he split his eye-brow open. The next thing he knew, his teacher, security, the paramedics, and others were crowded around him as he regained consciousness. He rode in a police car instead of an ambulance because he knew that would cost lots of money, and got the cut stitched up nice and neat.

The story doesn't end there though. A couple of years later he was taking a math class and joined a study group with some girls. The story came out in a study session, and one of the girls exclaimed, "That was you?!" Evidently, because he rode in the police car, the story made it into "Police Beat" in the Daily Universe and had become one of her (and her roommates') favorite story. She had actually saved the clip because she found it to be so funny! And Jared knew nothing about the story until then. (It kind of makes me wonder if I ever made it into Police Beat without ever knowing about it... i.e. getting caught by the cops for trespassing at the mental hospital. How would I know that beautiful lake was part of the mental hospital anyway? It's not like I hopped over any fence that wasn't already halfway down. It was just a good place to read my scriptures.)

Here's the other funny part. Jared spent a good amount of time yesterday and today searching through hundreds of Police Beats from 1998 to 1999 trying to find the article, and he actually found it! Here is the link, it's under MEDICAL, not INDECENT EXPOSURE, in case you are wondering. There are some pretty funny ones, I have to say. This is what his said:

A 22-year-old student was sliding in a chair in 1130 CB when he smashed his finger against a desk and went unconscious on Nov. 9. As he went unconscious, he fell and suffered a cut above his eye from the fall. He was treated at the Student Health Center and released.

He assures me that he was not sliding in the chair. Those reporters obviously didn't know the whole story.

I can't blame all the passing out genetics on him, though. Evidently, I used to do something similar as a child. I've passed out giving blood many times and once in the temple while doing sealings. Great place to pass out, by the way. They had juice, cookies and other snacks in the back room for just such incidents. And most recently I've passed out a lot while throwing up. Yes, while, which equates to an even more disgusting mess than it ever would have been. And this is what you get for reading all the way to the end of this blog entry.

We're hoping Erin and Connor escape the same fate that we've all endured. Here's to hoping!


Jared said...

As a side note:

The on-line search wasn't giving me what I needed, so I wrote a script to do it for me. It searched through over 30,000 BYU news articles, finding 313 Police Beat articles...finally finding the one I was looking for :) What a nerd I can be!

Steve Frahm said...

You said you've been throwing up recently.... Are you saying that you are pregnant?

HeatherWasHere said...

I think Steve just asked you a question.

Laura said...

All right, let's not be spreading any rumors here. 1) I am not pregnant, but I will let you know if that changes. 2) Yes, I did throw up recently due to the stomach flu. Not fun. 3) I have never, ever gotten sick due to pregnancy. Remember how I didn't know I was pregnant for 4 1/2 months? I think I would have been more clued in if I'd been throwing up/passing out every day.

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness, I remember that!!! Our study group was the best study group ever, and that was one of the funniest things I remember from it. My first date with my husband was a group date with that study group! Good times.

Sarah D. said...

Haha!! I didn't know that about Jared!! Jared, you are such a nerd.
Hope Marissa stays safe :)

Stephanie Black said...

Oh my goodness! That was a funny post - but it is scary about Marissa (is that the right one?) passing out in places that are dangerous. Yikes! I'm sure glad my kids don't do that. I think I'd have a heart-attack nearly every time...or just pass-out myself!