Convulsive Syncope

pidgefainting3/10/10 - Pidge, grew up in the rough-and-tumble life of Minnesota farming. She spent a good chunk of her career working as a hospital nutritionist, exposed to all the oozy adventures that hospitals offer. She lives the pucture-prone life of an owner and rider of horses. She's sailed small boats on big water. She lives in a vintage farm house with a history of bats in the attic. She traps possums and raccoons. She's not a girly-girl and she's not squeamish.

So it would seem plausible, even a great idea, that such a woman--now retired (everybody knows how much time retired people have on their hands)--would be a perfect candidate for service in volunteer emergency medicine, yes?

No. When her South Dakota rescue squad invited her to join up, she broke out in a cold sweat. To the amusement of her relatives, this otherwise sturdy and healthy woman suffers from convulsive syncope, brought about by the sight of blood, the mere suggestion of pain, and other gory delights.

Pidge says this has been going on since she was in the third grade. Her first episode happened at the state fair. She was viewing a safety exhibit of the considerable hazards of farming (one of which caused her great grandfather to buy the farm). The exhibit had life-like models of feet impaled by a pitch fork, hands caught in machinery, and similar images that make emergency medical workers laugh out loud.

laughingPidge was following her mom (my mom's cousin, Hazel) and heard a roaring sound, then lost her peripheral vision. She had an irresistable impulse to put her face on the floor where it was cool. Next thing she knew, she was outside on a park bench with her head between her knees, and Hazel's voice in the distance. Somebody had helped Hazel carry Pidge outside. Hazel was trying unsuccessfully to keep from laughing.

Finally Hazel gave up and just laughed until she had tears in her eyes. Apparently seeing Pidge's face turn white as snow was REALLY funny. Pidge didn't see the humor--she felt like crap. After that, it didn't take much to put her on the floor.