So…a weird thing happened to me last night after we picked up Christopher from football practice. For the record…I stubbed my toe while getting into my wife’s car. I’m not gonna lie, it hurt like hell and as I went to back out of our parking spot, I started to feel the pain shoot up my leg, so I asked Stephanie to drive. And this is where it got weird.
So I reach down and feel my toe and there is blood. Not a lot of blood, but blood nevertheless and so I drove to the next available side road and pulled over. Stephanie handed me a wad of tissue paper and I checked to see what the damage was. It appeared to me that maybe I had a cut under my toenail or something of the sort. Nothing to get too worked up over. I would like to think I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I mean, I’ve had sciatic nerve issues and kidney stones and THOSE I consider painful…NOT stubbing my toe on the parking brake of my wife’s Traverse.
Anyway, I still feel like the pain is making its way up my leg and so we decide to let Steph drive me home. As we are pulling away to go turn around, I blacked out. Dunno why. Just out. So…Stephanie pulls over and notices that I’m A) passed out and B) apparently not breathing. Obviously that second one is a big problem. So now Steph is in full-blown panic mode. Christopher calls 9-1-1 and then both he and Ava go running up to our friends’ house to get help. Stephanie is straddling the middle of the car console, beating on my chest and trying to talk to the 9-1-1 operator. At some point, I remember being in a really deep sleep and not wanting to wake up. I remember when I had kidney stones and the doctor gave me morphine. It was a lot like that. Total darkness. A really, really deep sleep and then suddenly…I was awake!
As I awaken, I hear Stephanie talking to the operator, answering ridiculous questions about my age, what I had been drinking, was I on drugs? I hear sirens in the distance. A quick glance in the back seat and I see neither of my kids are there. I didn’t feel bad but I was very hot and a little nauseous. It was all very surreal. When the ambulance and a couple police cars arrived, I was coherent. I answered all of the questions they asked. They got me out of the car, sat me in some cool grass and took all my vitals and I was fine. They offered to take me to the nearest hospital but I passed. I was feeling much better and didn’t see the need for that. Once everything was cleared, Steph took me home where I got into bed and tried to process what had happened. What an odd experience.
Today I went to my local doctor and he diagnosed me with “Vasovagal Syncope.” The definition of this condition is as follows (from the Mayo Clinic website):
Vasovagal syncope occurs when the part of your nervous system that regulates heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger, such as the sight of blood. Your heart rate slows, and the blood vessels in your legs widen. This allows blood to pool in your legs, which lowers your blood pressure. This drop in blood pressure and slowed heart rate quickly diminish blood flow to your brain, and you faint.
Common triggers for vasovagal syncope include:
- Standing for long periods of time
- Heat exposure
- The sight of blood
- Having blood drawn
- Fear of bodily injury
Considering that the way that I stubbed my toe was so sudden and so painful, essentially it sent off triggers to my nervous system which then shut down & put a full-body reboot on me. I guess it’s the way your body handles pain or certain kinds of trauma.
Anyway…I am fine. My big toe still hurts quite a bit and I am going to get x-rays to make sure there’s nothing broken but overall…I should live. Which is a good thing. I can’t imagine how awful it would have been to be placed in my final resting spot with a tombstone that said…”Here Lies Dear Old Dad…Stubbed His Toe And Now He’s Dead.”