Letter Re: Vasovagal Response

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I assisted a friend who is a Physician’s Assistant (PA) in removing a Lymphoma (fatty tumor) from my wife’s back. An approximately 4″ long incision was required to excise the tumor. We also went almost an inch deep. Now I have seen the worst you can see as relates to the destruction of the human body in seven years as a volunteer fireman including a very nasty plane crash without feeling ill at all. I had never heard of a Vasovagal [syncope] response before but experienced it first hand during the surgery. About 15 minutes into it, I started to feel hot and cold at the same time and was sweating a cold sweat. I felt nausea and also light headed. I have felt this way before due to extreme low blood sugar if I have not eaten in a long time.

I realized that if I continued to stand there I was heading to the floor [in a faint] in the next few seconds. So I told the PA I had to sit down for a minute and I also grabbed a Pepsi (I [otherwise]never drink anything but diet soda) for the sugar boost. The PA explained the Vasovagal response and I thought this is a good thing to understand in a Schumeresque situation as it may very well rear its ugly head with little warning. Even those of us who have experienced stressful situations without this happening can have it occur. Makes taking a Combat Medicine class more of a priority for me now to better understand what I may encounter. Regards, – Ready Room