Friday, June 21, 2013

A little pain was a big problem

I would never consider myself a tough guy, but I am not exactly a dainty little flower either.
I played hockey which results in bumps and bruises of all sorts. I rode dirt bikes to the very edge of catastrophe and street bikes even farther.
When you do such activities at that level of enthusiasm, you are going to crash and you are going to get hurt – it is that simple.
I have been in numerous dirt-bike wipeouts and several street-bike mishaps, but I walked away from all of them, a little scuffed perhaps, but I still walked away.
Road rash absolutely sucks, and is one of the most painful things you can inflict upon yourself short of taking your mother-in-law on a multi-day road trip (which I have done.)
I have also done martial arts for many years. While I train for the exercise aspect of the sport, you do occasionally get hurt.
That is why I found the doctor’s office incident so bizarre.
I was at the local practitioner of medicine for a minor thing when I mentioned I had skin tags.
These are a little build up of excess skin that your body can not think of anything to do with so they kind of grow like a flesh-tone zit.
I know, very appealing.
It is not like I was covered in the things to the point I could star in a Stephen King feature, but I had a few and when I mentioned them to the doc, his eyes lit up.
“We can take care of those right now,” he said with the enthusiasm of med student.
He scampered out of the room and came back with this little plastic shield thingy in one hand, a canister with a squeeze-pump in the hand and a look of glee on his face.
The canister contained dry ice that he was going to spray on the skin tags.
I do not know how often he does this procedure, but anytime a man gets to use a tool of any sort, it often brings a smile.
The doc put the little plastic shield thingy around one of the tags, squeezed the pump, released the spray and scored a direct hit on the zit wannabe.
The part he did not mention was it would sting. That kind of caught me by surprise, but it was only a minor amount of pain, so it was no big deal, right?
Out of nowhere, the room started to grow dim, I became light headed, I started to lose my balance and felt for sure I was going to hit the ground faster than the ethics of a Senator.
The doc had a few sprays to do, and each one brought a minor stinging sensation.
With each spray I got closer to taking a carpet nap, but I fought to maintain control while thinking how silly it is that such a minor amount of pain should cause such a reaction.
“C’mon you big baby. Don’t be such a big baby,” was the pep talk I gave myself as the world around me continued to fade.
I managed not to go face first into the wall on my way to to the floor, and when he was done I was on my way – my very wobbly way.
I thought the worst was over, but after walking two minutes to the grocery store to meet the Missus I once again thought I was going out.
All I could think of was how embarrassing it would be to pass out in the middle of the grocery store.
“Attention associates, clean up on aisle two –middle-aged bald guy passed out, bring a gurney for the big baby.”
Fortunately I managed to take some deep breaths and the moment passed, saving me the trauma of having a forced snooze in the middle of the produce aisle.
I have experienced a lot more pain than that before – I fractured both big toes in a single hockey game once and never missed a shift – but for some bizarre reason the sting nearly sent me sprawling.
Go figure.

1 comment:

Shannon Linden said...

Darren! I can explain this. From your friendly colleague and health columnist, I offer you reassurance: You are no baby. Sometimes it's not the degree of pain but the unexpected, sudden onset that causes us to careen. What you experienced is not uncommon and is known as a "vasovagal response" or in my husband's words: "You got vagal."

"A vasovagal episode or vasovagal response or vasovagal attack[1] (also called neurocardiogenic syncope) is a malaise mediated by the vagus nerve. When it leads to syncope or "fainting", it is called a vasovagal syncope."

"Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or the sudden onset of pain or extreme emotional distress."

"The vasovagal syncope trigger causes a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, which results in a brief loss of consciousness."

"Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless and requires no treatment."

How do I know all this (besides google)...Despite enduring childbirth (twice) sans medication, I nearly knocked my dentist out one time as I struggled to free myself of his grip (and that nasty mask). Those injections (ironically designed to numb pain) hurt like hell going into the tender gums if no topical is used first. Let's just say I wasn't expecting to get hit--and neither was my dentist. His office called my husband and he talked me back into the chair.

The moral of the story is: watch those little needles and tiny stings: they carry a potentially big plunge...floorward.

I hope this helps...maybe I should write a column about it?
Stay strong,
Shannon (Wed to the Med)