Holly and Matilda get a makeover

Playing with different drawing styles

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Yeah, Sometimes I Faint

For those of you who know me, you know that I have a *little* problem.

I have a heart condition in which I randomly faint. It is not serious, it is just the way my heart works. It is incurable, unfixable, and most of all, really freaking inconvenient.

It is one of those things that is more awkward than life-threatening, so feel free to laugh at the below stories without feeling like a horrible person.

Let’s start from the beginning. It is called neurocardiogenic syncope. It is a condition in which your blood pressure drops and takes too long to come back up. I only faint while standing and I don’t have a specific trigger –meaning anything and everything could possibly make me faint. I am lucky enough to have several seconds notice to get myself onto the ground safely before I, you know, hit it, so it’s generally not a big deal and creates just really uncomfortable situations.

I see my doctor once a year for him to say, “Yup, you're still broken, please pay your $30 co-pay at the front desk.”

If you look up my condition, here is the list of things that could possibly make me faint:

  • Prolonged standing
  • Standing up
  • Stress
  • Any painful or unpleasant stimuli, such as:
  • Trauma (such as hitting one's funny bone)
  • Watching or experiencing medical procedures
  • High pressure on or around the chest area after heavy exercise
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Arousal or stimulants, e.g. sex, tickling or adrenaline
  • Sudden onset of extreme emotions
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Hunger
  • Being exposed to high temperatures
  • Random onsets due to nerve malfunctions
  • Urination
  • Pressing upon certain places on the throat, sinuses, and eyes
  • The sight of blood or blood drawing
  • Violent coughing
  • Serotonin level
  • Swallowing 

So don’t worry guys. As long as I avoid hitting my funny bone and being outdoors and stress of any kind or being tickled, I am FINE!

As you can imagine, since I either have to live as a vegetable or risk fainting, I have fainted in a variety of situations. Including but not limited to:

  • Physically onto a taco stand
  • At Disneyland (had to lie down on the filthy Disneyland ground. There will never be enough soap to undo this.)
  • While representing my sorority during a recruitment open house
  •  At the beach
  • Going upstairs
  • At parties
  • One time I coughed
  • During a mid-term
  • Because my shoes were pinchy

Just to name a few.

But the absolute worst situation was when I was in college. I was a tour guide for my university and I was about halfway through a tour to a gazillion parents and potential students. I was talking about a few of our programs when ALL OF A SUDDEN, it happened.

I felt fluffy.

Fluffy is the term I use to describe the very specific floaty, fluffy feeling I get before my blood pressure is going to drop. It is light-headed, but it’s different. Think floating on fluffy clouds. But it actually sucks because it’s an omen of what is to come.

I just happened to be standing on some building's steps, so I quickly sat down. The tour probably thought it was a bit strange that their tour guide decided that this would be a great time to take a load off and relax. I kept giving the tour, trying to act casually, like we give sitting tours all the time!
But it was too late.

The fluffy didn't stop coming.

I was mid-sentence when I was soooo fluffy feeling that I could not remember the words for what I was trying to express. This is what came out in reference to our psychology program:

“And we have….. things…. And um… stuff… and the word is… the word for um…. Things and stuff…. In programs…”

The poor tour-goers started to try to help me.

“Sororities?” “Math?” “Class?”

I stared at them very intently and concentrated before saying, “Yes… We do.”

And I was sitting on the steps thinking, Okay Brain, think hard… We have… erm.. stuff…

By this point my head was floating away from me, and I was like, I should probably put my head down and even out my blood a bit.

So I put my head in my lap.

Here is the funny part. I was so out of it, that instead of saying, “Hi guys, I kinda need help!” I tried to keep giving the tour with my head in my lap.

I can only imagine what those people must have thought of their psycho tour guide who gives muffled tours from their own lap.

Not to mention, I was probably babbling incoherently.

When I put my head back up, phase two came. After fluffy feelings, I always begin to lose my sight. I start seeing black splotches everywhere. So when I looked at my group and saw darkness, I went, Yup this is happening. Humiliating.

At this point my tour group realized that I broke and that my university doesn't give muffled face-in-lap tours on purpose.

So naturally, someone starts screaming.

This the worst part for someone with my problem. It is soooo difficult when you're losing consciousness to try to explain calmly to people that this is a non-threatening situation that happens all the time.

I'm sitting there trying to string words together to assure them that I’m actually fine and just need a minute, but I couldn't concentrate on what those words would possibly be, as one woman tried to shove a granola bar in my mouth and someone else is shrieking to call an ambulance.

At this point I thought, Oh my gosh, my parents would kill me if they have to pay for ambulance. (Not because my parents are soulless, and they obviously would understand, but because there is literally nothing an ambulance could do, and once I faint, I faint for literally half a second, and also once you call an ambulance they have to take you regardless if the incident has passed and you’re fine now. Also, I’m not totally sure how health insurance works in regards to an ambulance but this was what I thought about at the time.)

Unfortunately for me, this is also when phase three happened – where my hearing goes out.

I finally submit and lay down on the steps – the only thing I can do at this point – and elevate my feet in hopes of physically pouring blood back to my brain more quickly.

Mind you, this whole event probably happened within a minute.

It did however give someone enough time to run back to the Admissions office and tattle on me to my boss, where somehow my little issue translated to I was dying.

So I somehow managed to convince the people in my barely conscious state not to call an ambulance but after I fainted (again, takes half a second), I was either shoved into a school golf cart or I walked to the health services center. Oddly, I just realized I was still pretty out of it, because I remember them trying to get me into the golf cart, and I refusing it and saying I could walk just fine, but I don’t remember how I actually got to health services.


In conclusion, I got there, was totally fine, because this is just how my life works, and I traumatized quite a few parents and children.

I lied down for a bit and went back to work in the office, where I had to convince my boss that I was alive.
But I’m sure none of those kids came to the school where tour guides gives tours from the safety of their laps.

So that is how I ended up fainting mid-tour and creating what may possibly be the most awkward college tour experience for several families.

However, I am pretty confident that while that is my most awkward story to date, it will get more awkward.

In example, several of my friends have asked me to be their bridesmaid this year.

I can only *sorta* promise to remain conscious the entire time.

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