I spent about seven hours in the emergency room yesterday. That made for a very uncomfortable and boring day. There is one upside, though. I learned something.
Before I tell you what I learned, I think some background will help. I throw up a lot. I always have. Whenever I get sick, it messes up my stomach. I sometimes joke that if I stub my toe, I’ll feel it in my stomach. A conversation that I’ve actually had more than once goes like this:
“Have we tried that place?”
“I think so. I seem to remember throwing up in their bathroom.”
The down side is obvious, I throw up a lot. The upside is that it doesn’t even faze me. It’s just something that happens.
Another fun fact about me is that I deal with vasovagal syncope. That’s just a fancy way of saying that I faint from time to time. My trigger is anything medical. It could be blood, needles, etc. I also avoid horror movies. The first time I remember it happening was in seventh grade science class. The teacher showed a movie that included a scene of open heart surgery and the next thing I knew I was on the floor surrounded by my classmates. I rarely lose consciousness anymore. I’ve learned my triggers and it’s something that I’ve learned to deal with.
These two fun facts have never coincided. When I throw up, I am always fully conscious and aware of what’s going on. And when I faint, it has never messed with my stomach. That changed a few weeks ago. I was at work and out of the blue I was feeling faint and vomiting at the same time. It was a completely new and unpleasant experience for me. But, I felt better then next day, so I chalked it up to just one of those things. Then, this past weekend, it happened again. Vomiting and feeling faint at the same time. So, I figured I should call my doctor.
I was booked for an early afternoon appointment. As I was describing the reason for my visit, I felt faint and started sweating like crazy (luckily no vomiting this time). The doctor decided it would be best to send me to the ER. While waiting for the ambulance, she did an EKG, tested my blood sugar, blood pressure and all of that. When the ambulance arrived, they also did their own EKG and placed an IV. Then, at the hospital, they hooked me up to all the monitors, took a bunch of blood and did another EKG.
The net result of all of this was somewhere around twenty stickers and pieces of tape all over my arms and torso. I probably should have mentioned before, but I’m a rather furry man. When I got home that night and had to removed all of the stickers and tape, it was like the scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin where Steve Carell was getting his chest waxed. It really hurt. And that is when I learned what I learned. Humans are mammals and mammals are supposed to have hair.
Unfortunately, people in the US have become obsessed with hair removal. As I was ripping off stickers and trying not to yell and wake up my wife, it occurred to me that if people would accept their hair, medical science would probably come up with some kind of sticker system that was less excruciating and we’d all be a lot happier.