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Well guess who fainted during Swan Lake???


Lisa O`Brien

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Yes,me.! Act 2 had just started. I suddenly felt really ill. A cold sweat,right down my face, front,back and back of my legs. Do you know that feeling when your blood pressure drops and you feel as if the only remedy is to eat something straight away? Well I felt terrible. Kept sipping my bottle of water but to no avail. The dancing suddenly went blurred and I couldn`t focus my eyes properly. I was mainly trying to stay put for the sake of not disturbing everyone around me. I was right in the centre of an aisle and I would have to disturb everyone in their seats to get out. Not to mention it was act 2, and although the [glorious] orchestra were playing ,it was still pretty quiet. I wasn`t concentrating or enjoying the ballet at all. All I knew was how poorly I felt and if I didn`t get out of there soon I would have keeled over on the floor.The staff at the Grand Opera House were just wonderful. I did actually almost keel over once in the corridor. Lots of fussing around me; the First Aider was called. She phoned for a Paramedic. Who phoned for an ambulance to take me to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. I could still hear the music.Was asked if I felt well enough to go back in and sit in a side seat so I could nip in and out if required. I didn`t . I just wanted to go home. Anyway,instead I spent 6 hours in the hospital. Bloods,urine, chest X Rays. Very thorough and fantastic. All my tests came back negative except that my white blood cell count was raised. Don`t know exactly what that means. Was told I had to go and see my GP. Got home at ten o`clock last night and was starving. I`d not eaten since 12.30. Had a sandwich and a cup of tea and went to bed. Feeling perfectly fine today,except for my vertigo,but I get that all the time anyway. The doctor explained that even though I didn`t actually black out my symptoms are still what they describe as a faint. Last time I "fainted",although didn`t black out,was 2 years ago when I went to Dublin`s Trinity College and saw Professor Brian Cox [sigh,drool] give a talk. Exactly the same thing happened,although I wasn`t anywhere near as bad. The doctor wondered if it could have been triggered by anxiety. Will definately need to be investigated further. I`m off to Swan Lake again on Saturday night. Second time lucky.

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So sorry to hear this Lisa, I know how much you have been looking forward to Swan Lake.

 

Many years ago a friend of mine had a panic attack during an NB performance in Nottingham.  We had booked separately and weren't sat near each other.  At the time she thought she was having a heart attack and the theatre rang an ambulance for her.  Talking about it later we think she had become anxious because she was in the middle of the row and was concerned in case, for some obscure reason, she suddenly needed to get out.

 

Thinking ahead to Saturday, may it be an idea to see if you can change your seat to a rear aisle seat, just in case you need to get out.  It could well be that having an "escape route" will give you the confidence to watch the whole performance.  Also, if you feel as though your blood sugar had dropped, why not have some dextrose tablets with you or a bag of chocolate buttons?

 

I do hope you enjoy Saturday.

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Raised white blood cell count possibly means you're anaemic, I think, though your GP will be the one to confirm that!

 

It's a horrible feeling, fortunately one that I've only experienced once, at a concert, and I actually stayed in my seat because I knew if I moved I would either keel over or vomit and (as I was in the middle of the second row) that could have been rather disruptive!! Luckily the feeling passed, and I managed to do neither.  I do hope you're OK.

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Hope all goes well on Saturday night for you. Do make sure you eat before you go. I was told last year when a blood test came back with a higher than normal white blood cell count that it was often the result of an infection somewhere in the body. In my case I felt fine the day of the blood test (routine tests for me) but I did come down with a cold 2 or 3 days later and they put it down to that. So try not to worry about your blood test result -see your doctor but it is probably nothing

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Rotten for you. I do sympathise as I get this affliction myself, usually as a result of some sort of anxiety, being overheated or in a situation where my claustrophobia kicks in. The feeling of 'sinking' is accompanied by extreme cold sweating, nausea and tinnitus for me.

My most recent attack was last Saturday as I awaited my coach home at Victoria, the final leg of a very long day, facing a nearly 4 hour coach journey. As I sat there, in the heat and noise, that old familiar feeling started. I sipped some water but it didn't help as I hadn't eaten for hours and water on an empty stomach increased the nausea. I started to panic more because I was in a crowded place and as far from the toilets as I could be at gate 20.Part of the misery of this feeling is being trapped in a situation where you can't see a clear way out. I knew my legs would not carry me to the toilets in time and unfortunately, I was sick, as discreetly as possible. Just as well I had a plastic bag with me. Nobody seemed to notice and I would have been amazed if anyone had offered to help me. They probably thought I was drunk or on something. Would I have helped somebody in such circumstances? I hope so. 

Anyway, some people were forming an outdoor queue - not usually allowed but nobody seemed bothered this time -  for the coach so I joined them. I wouldn't say it was fresh air but being outside helped and I started to recover. By the time I actually boarded the coach, I was feeling back to normal and able to eat my sandwich and apple. Odd isn't it, when you feel better, you really feel better and very hungry.

Apparently my fainting problems are also connected with the symptoms and medication I take for severe migraines.

I have been told that one way of alleviating vertigo, is to make sure you don't sit with your head and neck in the same position for too long, such as up, down or turned to look at something such as the tv or a stage. You 'should' try a little bit of gentle neck/head  moving and make sure your pillows are the right height. There is also something called the Epley manoeuvre which is an exercise that would be carried out on you by a professional medical person. I won't bore you to death describing it here.

I do hope you enjoy Saturday. Make sure you have eaten something and are fully hydrated - although not so much you need the loo! Have a little walk around in the interval, although tempting not to bother when you are on your own and have a great time.  

Edited by Jacqueline
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I agree with Janet about trying to get an aisle seat. Feeling 'trapped' in the middle of a row might be making you feel anxious. I also wonder whether you are going too long without eating which results in a drop in blood sugar levels. I think that you should have a chat with your GP and find out whether this fainting episode could be connected with your vertigo. You might want to talk about strategies for avoiding feeling faint / dizzy so that fear of fainting / being sick etc doesn't start putting restrictions on your life.

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My vertigo[dizziness] is really bad today. I`ve decided i`m going to give Swan Lake tomorrow night a miss. I don`t want to travel up to Belfast on the bus,wait for the show to start,and maybe suddenly feel ill, and have to travel on my own all the way home on the bus again. It`s put me off wanting to go. I think it will be best if I stay at home. If I feel poorly I can go and lie down. I can`t do that if I`m in the middle of Belfast on my own. I`m sure BRB`s Swan Lake will come back to Belfast again some time in the future. Feeling well is more important to me. 

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Having had family members whose symptoms sound very similar, it sounds like you may have an inner ear infection which affects your balance and gives you vertigo/dizziness/nausea/fainting. It would also explain the high white cell count. Maybe ask your doctor to check for that.

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Having had family members whose symptoms sound very similar, it sounds like you may have an inner ear infection which affects your balance and gives you vertigo/dizziness/nausea/fainting. It would also explain the high white cell count. Maybe ask your doctor to check for that.

Ooh,thanks Balletfan. I`ll mention it. Along with the vertigo I also get tinnitus too. My ears are ringing as we speak,and just sitting here I am becoming increasingly dizzy.[Time for the 2nd Prochlorperazine of the day !!]

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Lisa I very rarely go to the doctors, but I suffer with tinitus, and also pulsatile tinitus which is like a Chinese torture ( figure of speech ) Recently I have been having spells of dizzyness, so I went to see my doc. He gave me some excercises to do,  as it was some form of vertigo in his initial opinion. I was very surprised, but I'll give them a go. I can put up with the Tinitus, as probably like you I have it almost constantly, but this spinning sensation really gets you down. I'm a pretty tough bloke, and can put up with most things, but it would be nice to have a breather from time to time. Mind you there's always plenty of people far worse than you, I always say.

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If you have to go for a long stretch without eating in the future, it might be worth carrying an energy bar or something with you, which contains sugar, salt, nuts, and grains. It might not just be sugar that was low; you could also be in need of salt and protein.

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Thanks for all your help and support,everyone. This afternoon,I thought,"What the heck,i`m going to go". But the dizziness was pretty bad and I felt very tired. I actually went back to bed instead and slept solidly for four hours. I`ve just woken up now, at about 6.30pm. I`m going to watch my SL DVD from the Royal Ballet after i`ve eaten.  It`s a DVD version of an old VHS; the Natalia Makarova/ Anthony Dowell version from 1981. Lovely. Would love to have seen Celine Gittens and Tyrone Singleton dance,but it wasn`t meant to be [this time !!].

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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Lisa, if you are still getting dizzy spells I would really go and have them checked out.  I am so sorry you won't be getting to see SL this time, but your health is much more important and you have to take care of yourself.  There will be other SLs.  You only have one you....cherish her, and take care of her.

 

Enjoy your DVD;  I used to have it on video in the days of the dinosaurs, but my daughter Julia watched it so much as a little girl that it broke and I have still not got around to replacing it (she is now 24!).  It is a wonderful performance;  no-one has ever been able to emulate those beautiful arms.  Every time I watched the bit where she is transformed into a swan at the end of Act 2 and goes into the wings (in both senses) those arms, gosh, they gave me goose bumps every time!  A good friend of mine was one of the cygnets, so that was always fun to watch for Julia!

 

Best wishes to you for a quick recovery.

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I second (third, fourth, whatever) the suggestion to go to your doctor. Some types of vertigo are easy to deal with by doing physical exercises, but some are a lot more tricky. It would be a shame to live with it for months and then find you could have fixed it all along if you'd just been to the doctor.

 

In the meantime, I hope you get to see that Swan Lake performance one of these days, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it more for being healthy when you're watching it.

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Hi Lisa

 

Sorry to hear about your fainting attacks - what rotten timing!

 

My mother was suffering from sudden dizzy spells and it turned out to be atrial fibrillation.  This is usually age-related (20% of people over 85 have AF) but a neighbour of mine who is only just 40 has recently been diagnosed with the same condition.  Has your doctor mentioned this?  I believe a non-invasive cardiogram is the usual method of diagnosis.  Fortunately it seems to be very easily treated.

 

Do hope you feel better soon but try carrying a little fruit juice in your bag just in case it happens again.  It's what diabetics are advised to use as it can raise the blood glucose level faster than anything else.

 

Linda

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Dear Lisa,

 

I do hope your GP is supportive and helps you find out what is really causing these unpleasant symptoms.  You are much too young to have your life restricted in this way but with the help of a good GP you should be able to get a proper diagnosis and advice/treatment that will make your life easier.

 

Just be persistent and eventually you will get there.   It took me nearly 40 years but I am much older than you and I only recently had the help of a good doctor.  But medical testing and diagnosis has improved unbelievably in the last few decades.  It is truly astonishing what medicine can do now and it is very important to keep a positive attitude and not be palmed off with random medication. Don't be afraid of being thought a 'difficult' patient - you only have one body and one life so you have the right to question any treatment that doesn't help.

 

Good luck - I'll be thinking of you and I hope you don't miss any more Swan Lakes!

 

Linda

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