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Panic, Dizzy Spells & Fainting When Kids Depend on You

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If you’ve never fainted or experienced an acute panic attack with dizzy spells then this post might illuminate the mystery. It’s also descriptive of medical issues so if you have a tendency to get woozy, then this may not be for you. I understand though...more than you know.


Medical Office Equipment

Medical Office Equipment

I have them. I get dizzy and sometimes faint. Less frequently now than I’m older but I still go through them. If you haven’t ever, consider yourself fortunate because losing control and fainting is unsettling.

Yesterday, I took my son to the doctor. For me, panic, dizziness and potential risk of fainting is common when I go to a medical office with my kids, but as they’ve gotten older, I’ve done better at controlling my mind and focusing so that I don’t go all the way out. I still have attacks, they’re just not as severe.

So I’m at the doctor with my son because his right big toe was damaged while on a school retreat. I don’t mean to be gross, but I swear, his entire toe looked like mold was growing on dried blood and a rough edge nail bed. Nasty. But that’s not what made me lose control. The doctor scooted his rolling stool close to my son’s elevated foot. He snapped on powdered gloves and started examining the toe. He ordered an X-ray to make sure there wasn’t a fracture.

(But that wasn’t what made me dizzy.)

He brought out tools and began working on snipping the nail, and trimming the cuticle.

(That’s not what made me have an episode.)

The doctor began explaining that we have two options.

(Oh God...not this. It’s happening....Limits. Feeling restrictions. An ultimatum.)

He continued, “we can remove the nail entirely and hope that it grows back properly or trim it so that the blood pocket underneath the nail could drain....the procedure would be...”

Oh my gosh, here we go. He’s talking and explaining and giving details. I don’t want to hear it but I’m the mother. Why didn’t I send my husband to this appointment instead? I should’ve known better and now I’m trapped. I hate myself for feeling this way. I think of my husband again, and try and reason: He’s downtown and this medical office is in the suburbs, that’s why I came to the appointment instead. Focus on something else.

“The problem is the nail is hanging on by just a bit of skin....”

I’m getting overheated. I feel the first beads of sweat on my forehead. I look over to my son and he’s listening to the doctor. His eyes are wide and his pupils are spread out to the rim. He’s apprehensive but appears steady. Noise is suddenly louder. My senses are hypersensitive to everything. I hear a phone ringing down the hall. A person coughing in the waiting room. My sense of smell is overwhelming. I can smell disinfectant, my son’s shoes and the plastic dusty odor of the doctor’s gloves. I need something cool pressed on my head. A sip of water, maybe.

“What we’ll need to decide is if the nail bed can heal with normal cleaning like with peroxide. The bubbles in the peroxide will help loosen and remove....”

Oh damn. I’m going to have to leave this room or I will fall out right here in front of my son and the doctor. I try and think of something else. Grab my phone and scroll. Nope. That doesn’t feel good either. The scrolling is making me feel unsteady. My heart is racing.

“Son, I’m going to the restroom.” He nodded without looking up from his mangled toe.

“Doc, save the nail. Don’t take it all the way off. Let’s try to leave it in place until the new nail grows in...okay?”

He nodded and kept working. I made it down the hall, closed the single room bathroom door and locked it. I focused on the silver shine of the door knob. I slid to the floor. I heard pounding in my ears. I looked at the trash bin full of discarded paper towels and thought about spitting up. I gagged but didn’t produce. The sweat was slipping off my nose. I pressed my cheek against the linoleum and listened to clacking heels pass by in the hall. I studied the thin line of light underneath the door. Dust collected around the edge of the frame and the circulating air made the webs quiver. I hated myself for being here when my son was in the exam room. I wanted to cry but humiliation made me say ugly things to myself instead.

The chill of recovery started against my back and I knew I’d be fine again. My hair felt cool as heat escaped. I sat up then scooted over to the sink and ran cold water over my wrists. I held my arms above me like I was praising the heavens. I pulled myself to a standing position and stared at my reflection. I was disgusted and embarrassed. I snapped a paper towel out of the dispenser and ran cold water over it. I squeezed the excess water from it and placed it against my face and neck. My color returned and flushed my cheeks. My heart settled into a lopsided rhythm. I threw away my wet paper towel into the bin with the others. I’m grateful I didn’t spit up. I looked at my watch. I had left my son for four and half minutes. If I hurried I could be back in the exam room before five.

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