I recently posted an explanation of presyncope as a person with POTS/NCS. Here’s an example of when it recently happened for me and how I felt.
My family and I were at our church’s summer block party one evening not long ago. I was a good girl and used the wheelchair, because I knew going between a parking lot, gym, and fields would be too much walking.
After catching up with friends and watching our kids play outdoor games, we went into the gym for dinner. I was sitting in line talking to a friend when I felt presyncope coming on. She asked me if I was okay (my face started to go pale), and I assured her I was (trying to live in denial and hope it would blow over). A couple minutes later, she asked if she could get me anything (paler face, less responsive chatting on my part). She brought me a glass of ice water, which I immediately held to my temples, hoping it would help me feel better. In the next couple minutes, I went from pale to paler to zombie-white, stopped being able to respond to her, couldn’t tell anyone what I should do (I need to memorize the words, “I NEED TO LIE DOWN!”), and generally went from bad to worse (for more description, see my explanation of presyncope). My eyes were watering, my chest and neck were a blotchy bright red, and friends pushed me and my wheelchair out of the gym, as shocked-looking friends and strangers looked on, and my husband went to get the car so I could lie down with the A/C on full blast.
Okay, I don’t like presyncope, but I REALLY don’t like public presyncope. I feel like I seem like a dramatic diva who can’t just keep it together. I feel very embarrassed and even a little ashamed. My three elementary-school-aged kids get very worried (zombie + Mommy is not a good combo), and in the moment, I lack the conversational skills to reassure them. I managed to eke out, “Go ask Daddy” to anything they said. When my 11-year-old asked how I was, I gave him a thumbs-up to reassure him, which he later told me was very upsetting, since he could tell I was not doing well and thought I was tricking him.
On top of that, if anyone offers me sympathy, I lose it. One friend said, “I hate that you have to go through this,” which caused me to burst into tears. Being the recipient of pity has never been easy for me.
But even as I was going downhill, I was not alone. Friends gathered my little guys to have dinner with them. Friends brought me a hot dog and chips so I could load up on salt. My husband’s cell phone buzzed like crazy as friends texted him to see what they could do. Friends pretended not to notice when I rejoined the party, much later, with a red nose and puffy eyes. Friends prayed for me in the midst of it all. My Best Friend assured me, “I am your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
How do you feel when presyncope hits? Have you had embarrassing public moments due to something your body did?