Fainted in the ER--again!!

I can’t believe it! I have some fainting syndrome where every time I watch a procedure in the ER where I volunteer and I see blood and needles, I pass out!
When it happened tonight I even remembered to follow the advice I got from people here the last time this happened, such as not locking my knees. All I know is I got super hot and then light headed. This time I got myself out of the room in time, and walked around a bit before going back in. But then it happened again! I left once more and more or less collapsed into a chair outside the room.
This is ridiculous. I am not at all squeamish and I love needles! Part of my job involves purifying proteins from bacteria and pig kidneys! I use syringes every day at work. I used to sell plasma for cash! Why do I faint in the ER??
One of the ER docs gave me a couple of needles to take home with me to look at and get used to. Is that what it’s come to?? He also told me about a student he used to know with the same problem who got over it, so maybe there’s hope.
I hope so! Has anyone else heard of this?

Hey Pushkin…
Glad to see you made it back out of the Northeast, hope the rest of your journey wasn’t as eventful as the first part!
Anyway… I’m not sure what to tell you about the fainting. Is this the first time since you’ve seen such a procedure since the last time you fainted? I know for myself a couple years ago at the doctor I got blood drawn, which had never been an issue for me, but these people couldn’t seem to find a vein and kept poking and poking and next thing I knew poof black. Luckily I was already sitting. Ever since then I’ve had this fear that it will happen again and sure enough the next time I got blood drawn I remember sitting there thinking “breathe, stay calm, I will not pass out, I will not pass out” and was feeling fine until about ten paces into the waiting room when I started feeling the world around me go black and I managed to get myself to a chair until I felt normal enough to get myself out of the office. Unfortunately I haven’t had blood drawn since then (I did have an IV a couple weeks ago but that was intended to put me out!) so I don’t have a success story of overcoming these things yet. But I guess my point is that maybe after that first time you’ve freaked yourself out that it’s going to happen (regardless of trying to convince yourself that it won’t) and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m sure it’s something that will go away with more exposure. Maybe next time try to depersonalize… I mean, when we watch surgery on TV or whatever, we just see the body part they are working on, not the entire person. Don’t know that any of this really helps you… but I am wishing you good luck for the next time!

I don’t know if this is at all related, but when I first started working in the ER & got overcome with the gross-out factor, I learned that if I was active & helping out–rather than observing–I felt better. So for me, backing away just made it worse. Helping (cutting clothes off, even removing shoes) totally changed the picture for me. After that, I only had 2 procedures that I couldn’t watch, both of them on my last night after 2 yrs–telling I think, that I had already returned to observer/outsider.

Thanks!
I did finally make it out of the northeast, although it wasn’t without further trials and tribulations. My 4th rental car turned out to have a leaking tire, which I was lucky enough to find out about on a Sunday morning in Montreal just as I was about to head off on a 6 hour drive. The lesson I learned, and which I hope to pass on to future generations of car renters, was, DON’T EVER RENT FROM ALAMO.
Anyway, bjg–I think you are right about how participating in the procedure might make a difference, at least for me. I am going to see if I can shadow one of the ER docs, where I’d have the chance to move around and ask questions. This time a surgery resident was doing the procedure (putting in a central line)–and he had a pretty gruff demeanor which made me feel like I needed to be as invisible as possible. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe I am just intimidated by surgery residents.
Prior to the actual putting in of the central line, the surgery resident asked me to velcro his surgical apron shut in the back. I was standing there in my volunteer smock (looking pretty useless I’m sure), and the EMT had left the room, so it was just myself and the resident. I absolutely could not figure out how to velcro that smock for the life of me. Some piece was missing or something. He wasn’t the friendliest in the world guy so I felt really stupid. I think feeling like an idiot contributed to the light-headedness.

>I can’t believe it! I have some fainting syndrome where every
>time I watch a procedure in the ER where I volunteer and I
>see blood and needles, I pass out!
Maybe watching surgical procedures on discovery health channel will help if it’s a desensitization issue?

Have you tried a clinic setting, like where they draw blood? Watching a lot of proceedures like Plastic surgery on D health may help. Like you said it’s not the needles, I think it’s the people the needles are going into. I know when I’m nervous about a proceedure I concentrate on the proceedure not the person as much becuase I want to do a good job with the proceedure for that person.


I also wanted to bring up that there’s other places to volunteer, but overcoming that problem would be great. Hang in there!