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Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Vaso Vagal Episode

From: Michele Halpin
Date: 5/13/99
Time: 8:04:57 PM
Remote Name:


I am a 39 mother of 5 and have experienced several Vaso Vagal episodes in the last 16years. The first one was on January 28, 1983. I remember the date because I had just been given an enema as was having a shower, prior to be taken to the delivery suite where I was to have an elective ceasar with my last child. Whilst I was showering and with no warning, I lost all energy and laid myself down on the shower floor, I didn't even have the strength to push the emergency button. Within about 4-5minutes, I felt 'normal' and completely fine, just very confused about what had just happened. I never lost consciousness at any stage. I went on to deliver my baby with an epidural and all was fine. About 6 months later, I was on my own at a club to watch a friend sing and I was playing a poker/slot machine at the time, when I was overcome with the sensation I was about the collapse, I made my was to the public bathroom and by now was remembering that same sensation of losing all my energy and now felt extremely nauseous as well. I plonked myself on the toilet, all the time finding it very hard to actually sit there. I broke out in the most profuse sweat I have ever experienced in my life, that I could have just hopped out of the shower, at the same time, I had severe diarrhea and vomiting. I thought I was going to die. I was sure someone had somehow slipped something into my glass of coke and poisoned me. The whole episode lasted about 10 minutes and I can still remember ladies in the bathroom who couldn't understand my calls for an ambulance saying things like "I think she's on drugs" or "she's obviously drunk". It all passed and within 15 minutes, although a little shakey from the shock of it all, my energy returned and I felt physically "normal' again but frightened by what was happening to me and the fact that I seemed to have no warning. It was the following morning when I described it all to my doctor and he gave me the explanation of Vaso Vagal and basically there was nothing I could do to prevent it or deal with it when it happened. I was sure he had no understanding of the fear and anxiety, wondering when and if it was going to happen again. I managed to get to the doctor within half an hour of one episode and he was astounded at how low my blood pressure was, I had told him I felt 100% better at that moment compared to when I was having the attack, this was the first sign of real understanding and sympathy he gave, no doubt imaging how dreadful one must feel with dangerously low BP. I estimate I've had about 10 attacks in the last 16 years. None as bad as the second one, but I had one today at the gym and I must say, as I sat in the toilet cubicle, I wondered if today was going to be the day that I died (and in a toilet of all places). I saw my doctor within an hour of it happening and again my BP was low, but she (new doctor) said there's nothing I can do. I have never met anyone who has experienced these attacks and sometimes wonder whether people think I'm a hypercondriac when I mention them. I cannot think of any common link to tie my experiences together and believe they would come on regardless of what I was doing. I have never lost consciousness but always lose control of my bowel, but only sometimes vomit. I would love to be in medical care at the time of an episode, so as to have my Blood Pressure and blood taken to check my electrolytes,


On Sabbatical!

When my office lease expired at the end of 2004, I decided to turn it into a "sabbatical" from my private practice. Many years ago, in my grandfather's 89th year of life, he told me, "John, it is important to smell the roses while you can still smell them." His life gave living a very good reputation. It is also true that the pursuit of that philosophy required my grandfather to to re-open his assay office/ore market in Wickenburg, Arizona as a 75-year-old because he had run a little short of retirement money. Thus, if blessed with his luck and health, I'll be back.. --jjh

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