18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going to Ground

This morning in the cath lab, I was standing up talking to one of our techs, who happens to be a personal trainer. I was asking him about how to handle my plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of the feet, often due to running).

He pushes on the heel of my foot. Owww! That hurt. I definitely have plantar fasciitis, and possibly a bone spur as well, he says. I have to stop running for a while and give it a rest.

I started to get very lightheaded. Owww that really hurt. He keeps talking. I don't hear much of what he's saying, but I'm nodding and acting like I am paying attention, because I don't want to be rude or embarrass myself. But I really need to sit down. I feel my pulse; it's slow and thready. I know I'm getting vasovagal. When he's done talking, I'll go right over here to the break room. I don't know if I'm going to make it..... and I start to slump over.

Next thing I know, I'm lying on the cath lab floor. I feel my eyes fluttering but I can't open them. I hear voices and I know there's a crowd standing around me. "Heather? Heather? Are you okay?" I want to talk, but I can't. Someone takes my wrist.... "I can't feel a pulse."

I open my eyes. "I'm ok, I just got vasovagal." After a minute, I stood up and somehow a barcolounger chair appears. I sit in the chair for a while with my feet propped up, drink some water, and start to feel better.

Wikipedia has a great explanation of vasovagal syncope. Triggers include pain and emotional stimuli. Usually it's a very benign condition. The combination of the pain in my heel when he pressed, along with being told that I should stop running for a while, likely set it off. I've had this happen before, but have never passed out -- in high school when I shadowed a cardiologist and he was pulling out an arterial sheath with lots of blood spurting, in med school when I met my cadaver for the first time, when learning to draw blood. Before this, it was two years ago, standing in the cath lab during a long case, after barely eating breakfast and being upset that George W. Bush had been reelected for four more years (can I say I told you so? I digress...).

I'm ok. Embarrassed, but ok.


Anonymous said...

Yikes! I'm glad you're okay... Thanks for the vasovagal link. I have reactions like that, most disturbingly when I'm driving and I get in a "near" accident. After reading the wikipedia entry, I'm a little concerned... I've only ever ALMOST lost consciousness, but actually losing it would not be good--for obvious reasons. Sorry to hear that you might have to take a break from running! I hope your foot heals quickly.

And good luck on your exams :)

Anonymous said...

re: the vagal nerve reaction while driving -- it doesn't happen a lot! Once I had a really close call with a semi on the interstate and it was kind of a panic reflex afterwards... I didn't mean to make it sound like I'm just driving around likely to pass out at any time! Thanks for your comment on my blog -- I didn't mean to freak you out!

OkraMary said...

Whew! I've had that before...ears ringing, feel like my eyes are burning, passing out, etc...when I got my ears pierced and when I got my nose pierced.

Getting blood drawn also does it to me sometimes. It's weird!

Danielle said...

Ooh, I'm glad you're okay. Take care of yourself.

BTW, what do you mean "reelected"?! He wasn't elected the first time and he probably stole this one, too.

Unknown said...

glad you are OK! less running means more time to study! Gotta take care of yourself or your running career will be cut short.

I've had that happen once when I was 16 and visiting my grandmother in the ICU. right around the time she asked my mom to ake her home so she could die. It was also about 100F outside and about 65F in the ICU... I managed to sit down before I passed out, but I never knew what it was.

Deb said...

As a runner with chronic issues (mine is ITBS, usually), I know the emotional distress at the thought of having to not run for a while.

plantar fasciitis is not something I've had to date, but I know many people who have dealt with it and gotten past it. As hard as it is to actually do, staying off the running for a while right at the start of these things usually gets us up and running more quickly.

You've probably already done some research, but this is a pretty good article on the injury:

So take some time off, do the stretches that are recommended, and hopefully you'll have a quick recovery! Something else that has helped me run after a year and a half off from ITBS is Chi-Running. Different biomechanics, and the only thing that has me running at this point. I've heard it helps with PF too.

Good luck!