I am not a wimp, a weak person, but over the last week I have had two experiences which made me feel that way, to feel an idiot.
A few days ago, I was preparing some food for a meal and I pricked my little finger with a sharp knife, and as you will see from the mark on the end of my little finger, it was minor.
A little cut on my finger
A little bead of blood appeared, but no problem, wash it away and continue (yes with caution not to contaminate the food) with preparing the food.
Within a few moments, I felt my head going light, the room beginning to spin.
I had to sit down.
The blood drained from my face, my lips and face turned grey, and I broke out into a cold sweat, as my blood pressure dropped.
I lay down with my feet higher than my head to get the blood flow back into my head.
There was nothing I could do to stop this irrational reaction to that small little cut. I am not afraid of blood, I can watch operations on TV, I have blood drawn at the doctors and hospitals for tests without problems, but why, oh why, is this happening to me?
Two days ago I was in hospital to undergo a procedure called an angiogram, and internal investigation of my heart. It is the second one I have had, so I know what is going to happen, and was quite prepared for it, and had little or no stress. As I waited to be registered at 7:30am, waiting with another gentleman, I was reassuring him, smiling, joking, putting him at ease.
They needed a blood sample from me, and the ward sister came along with the tools of her trade, telling me she would put a cannula into my arm, so that she could drain some blood for testing, and that the cannula would stay there during the procedure just incase they needed to give me some medication.
As I sat in a chair next to the hospital bed, waiting for her to start, I told her of my experiences of nearly passing out, just to warn her, and that the last time they did this I had a reaction.
She laughed at me, asking if I was OK, which I was. I felt fine. I did not look at her putting the cannula into my arm, and was laughing and joking with her.
Then it hit me.
My head began to swim, I broke out into that cold sweat, turning grey, and the ward sister called for help. I was lain down on the bed, feet higher, just like the last time.
I felt like an idiot, a wimp. I was out of control of my own body. I tried everything I teach in my courses to relax myself, I tried Fred, Antonio, Mustafa, deep breathing, relaxing, nothing I could do would relieve the situation. The irrational behaviour had to run its’ course.
Why do 10% – 20% of the population experience passing out at the sight of blood?
There is a theory that this physiological response is genetic, inherited from our parents. But I remember my father having many an injury without any ill effects, and on occasions my mother cutting herself with reacting. And, where would a woman be if every month she had this reaction?
Another theory says that the reaction to the sight of blood stems from our far distance past, from our cave man days, becoming an evolutionary outcome. This theory says that when under attack, the defender would faint, falling to the ground pretending death, the blood would drain away from the face, looking like a dead body, thus the attacker would cease the attack.
This fainting strategy, could also help stem the flow of blood to an injured part, thus reducing blood loss, increasing the survival rate.
When the danger had passed, the person could get on with their life, producing offspring which would be passed-on to the next generation, producing a survival gene.
Some other theories say it is a phobia, and irrational response to a situation, the sight of blood, a learnt experience. If this is so, then I should be able to deal with it as I do with other clients in a couple of seconds.