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Laying on the Bathroom Floor

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:32pm

I had a scarey incident this weekend on Friday night. I have always been a fainter. The first time I remember fainting was in grade 1 when I banged my knee on the bottom of my desk and fainted from the pain. I fell over head first onto the cement floor and woke up in the sick room. But it has been becoming more frequent. Well, 3 times in the last 2 years, I guess that's not to bad but unfortunately when I faint I don't have any warning and I manage to hit every hard surface on my journey to the floor. Last year I badly sprained my ankle and really bruised up my back.

It is always in response to pain. Lately I have been having increasing abdominal pain/spasms. Feels like my guts are in a vice. Friday night I woke up with these intense abdominal cramps and went into the bathroom. I was in agony and remembered thinking I think I'm going to faint I have to get my head down. The next thing I remember I woke up on the bathroom floor drenched in sweat. When I tried to lift my head everything started going black again. I vaguely remember feeling uncomfortable and turning over. Then I think I blacked out again. I don't know how long I was out. I finally came to and was able to crawl back to bed.

The scariest part is that my husband commutes off of our island to the mainland for work so he is gone Monday to Friday so I am home alone with my young children. So my husband wasn't home. The next morning I still had terrible stomach cramps but much less than they were. This is when I noticed a large goose egg/bruise on my temple and a big bruise on the bridge of my nose and my one shin. My neck is also killing me. I think my noggin took some abuse on the way down.

So all weekend I have felt very unwell. Weak and tired and stomach cramps and nausea. I have eaten only a few crackers and a couple pieces of toast all weekend and I had to force these. This incident seems to have ramped up my nausea and dizziness when upright to new heights. I don't know if this is b/c of the blow to the head or some other process at work. I have wondered lately if this abdominal cramping could be sm related. I did try to take Baclofen (an anti-spasmodic) as a trial and it did seem to ease the cramping. Either it is some type of spasms, a coincidence or a placebo effect but it does seem to help.

I went a re read the POTS place website especially the info about neurocardiogenic syncope. It describes what I am experiencing to a tee.

What is neurocardiogenic syncope?

Neurocardiogenic syncope is a temporary loss of consciousness associated with a drop in arterial blood pressure, quickly followed by a slowed heart rate (Grubb & McMann, 2001, p. 133).

Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) is also referred to as vasovagal syncope or neurally mediated syncope. The terms are used interchangeably throughout this web page.

What are the symptoms of NCS?

Neurocardiogenic fainting usually occurs while standing. Emotional stress, stressful condition and pain may trigger an episode, especially among the young (Shah, Gupta & Lokhandwala, 2003). The onset may be abrupt or associated with warning symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, nausea, sweating, pallor, visual disturbances, abdominal discomfort, headache, pins-and-needles, lightheadedness or vertigo (Deering, 2003). Presyncopal patients may also complain of palpitations, vomiting, disorientation, and difficulty speaking clearly or coherently (Grubb & McMann, 2001, p. 60.). Other symptoms that may present before a faint include feeling either warm or cold, tremors, yawning and having a bluish/purple or red coloring to the skin (Alboni, Brignole, Menozzi, Raviele, Del Rosso, Dinelli, Solano & Bottoni, 2001).

During the faint "seizure-like" activity may occur (Grubb, Gerard & Roush, 1991). This convulsive activity is thought to be distinct from a seizure disorder.

Patients are sometimes symptomatic after a faint as well. Patients may complain of symptoms including nausea, clamminess, lightheadedness, headache and malaise (Deering, 2003). Patients may also experience vomiting, abdominal discomfort, weakness, tremors, cold or warm feelings and confusion (Alboni et al., 2001). Patients who experience frequent neurocardiogenic syncope may report symptoms between faints as well, such as chronic fatigue, headache, chest pain, exercise intolerance, heart "flip flops" and an inability to tolerate prolonged standing.

I think this whole phenomenon is part of the whole POTS/dyautonomia picture. I have noticed the last 3 times I fainted have been at night. Maybe I am slightly more dehydrated or hypoglycemic and so less able to cope with severe pain and maintain a proper BP and heartrate. I am going to try and drink more at bedtime and maybe institute a mandatory bedtime snack.

I made a appt for tomorrow with my family doctor. Maybe I can get back into my cardiologist or NL sooner. I have told every doc I've ever gone too about the fainting and no one has seemed overly concerned but it is not healthy for someone with a syrinx, cranial settling and CM to be falling and hitting their head. I finally got an appointment for my tilt table testing next week. I was concerned that I would not be symptomatic for the test but maybe this is not such a worry after all. I really want the test to reflect how serious I feel my symptoms to be and I think I just might get my wish.
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