I woke up at 5 the other morning to get ready for rounds (visiting patients in the hospital). I had my morning bowl of chocolate Cheerios with soy milk, took my iron pills (I have chronic fatigue but not technically anemic by laboratory standards, I beg to differ), and went on my way as I do every morning. I made it to the hospital with time to spare and felt like my usual self, under-caffeinated but ready for work.
After unwrapping a wound from a recent amputation, I leaned over to get a closer look and… 5…4…3…2…I just blacked out. I started feeling lightheaded like when I stand up too fast and everything goes black for a second. But I started to get nervous too because I didn’t want to pass out in the patient’s room (in front of my preceptor!). So as I started realizing I was experiencing a black out, I grabbed the wall and slowly walked out without causing a scene. I was now really confused and the dark haze I was seeing didn’t go away quickly so I struggled to find a restroom (clear across the building it felt like) and made it safely to the sink. It took a few minutes before things would clear up and then I looked in the mirror and saw how pale I’d gotten. Then I thought, “who spiked my cereal?”
I’ve never experienced a fainting spell and I’ve often seen other people faint at the sight of blood. But as a medical student, I’ve seen tons of blood! So I didn’t know why this particular case made me exceptionally queasy. I guess it can just happen to anyone for no good reason at all.
What a mystery!