Light-headed


Tonight at rowing practice (indoors) we were to row hard for one minute, then not as hard for one minute, for a total of 40 minutes. After 20 minutes I got a hot flash and felt enervated, which does happen after I've exercised a while. Then I get my energy back. This time it didn't come back and I felt light-headed and so I stopped, still sitting there on the erg (rowing machine) and moving my feet a little. I was sweating and weeping, weeping because that's what I do when I'm in physical distress. I was shaking and my heart seemed to be beating fast but when I timed it, it was slow. I couldn't get control of my breath. I wondered if I was having a heart attack, but thought probably not. Everyone else kept rowing and I wondered what would have happened if it really were a heart attack or if I had a stroke. Eventually, would they just step over me? The person next to me asked if I was OK and I shook my head. She asked if I wanted to lie down and I said no. Eventually the coaches noticed and got me some food. I had just eaten some bread and cheese at a cocktail party, so I don't think that lack of nourishment was the problem. And I hadn't had any alcohol. I was shaken up and people asked if I was OK and I would continue to shake my head. I was too upset to really talk. J is a nurse and said that the blood hadn't gone to my limbs. Or maybe she said the opposite, I don't know. The numbness in the hands seemed to be part of the whole about-to-faint scenario. S, one of the coaches, gave herself food-poisoning on Saturday and said she almost fainted Saturday night, and felt the same way. I've never fainted, though I wanted to for years and years because my sister R did.

I got a ride home with the lovely and kind S, and I decided to cancel a video taping tonight. It was at DePaul, for an anthology of nature poetry and essays. I don't know who was doing the taping. My essay is about being afraid of open spaces; fear of the nature is my theme and that essay has been my calling card in a couple of anthologies so far. I'm the anti-nature writer. I called G to get a phone number for C, the guy who was organizing the book and the taping. I left him a message and emailed him and then, unusual for me, didn't worry about it any more. It took me at least an hour to start breathing normally. I think my heart is still beating too deeply. If that can be said about a heart-beat.

I always weep when I scare myself with my physical state. Last week I was talking to a nurse at my phototherapy place (where I am zapped in order to alleviate the itching caused by polycythemia vera) who'd been gone on maternity leave. She said that she'd been in labor 29 hours and had to have a C section, but there wasn't enough time to put her under with general anesthesia, so she'd had local only, and could feel the pressure (and pain) of the doctors cutting her open, and could also feel them taking out her uterus and bladder. I almost cried, she said.

Almost??? If that didn't make her cry, what would?

5 comments:

Jonah said...

I am sorry to hear that you had such a scary experience.

I think pain can get too intense for there to be room to cry.
And I think being half unconscious and exhausted doesn't lend itself to the weeping sort of crying, only the sobbing kind, and it often hurts too much to sob.
And that opinion is based on my years of experience with gallstones including an episode of pancreatitis.

Panelists, Nonfiction Now 2010 said...

Both sound painful. I emailed my hematologist last night and she said it sounded like I was dehydrated, and that it didn't seem related to my blood disease. Which is good.

Flatsy McNasty said...

I was reading something else about someone working out with weights and then feeling weak and sweating from head to toe. It felt like a silent heart attack.

According to Consumer Reports on Health: If you strain without exhaling, your blood pressure rises and your pulse drops.(Valsalva maneuver) When you relax--and lower the weights--blood pressure can plunge and you're apt to feel faint. Before lifting, take a deep breath and then slowly exhale as you lift.
So maybe you should take a page from Terry McMillen and quit waiting to exhale... (I had no idea that improper breathing could make you feel like you were having a silent heart attack.) Good luck...

Anonymous said...

http://www.livestrong.com/article/32942-breathe-exercising/

See above link for breathing tips

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