Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2005/ 15 Kislev, 5766

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

A scary episode | It's been one of those weeks. My sister passed out on me while we were out shopping. We had just finished eating lunch and I was paying at the register - when I turned around I saw her slumped down in the corner of a bench seat. I asked her if she was okay and as she mumbled something about feeling sick, she passed out or had a seizer or God knows what. All I know is her eyes were open and staring blankly heavenward, she became totally unresponsive, and her body went limp. Her head was sweaty and cold, her hands were clammy and wet.

No amount of shaking, calling her name, or even gentle slaps to the face did any good. I called over to the guy at the cash register to get a doctor or call 911. Finally she started coming out of it and gained consciousness. Someone brought her a cup of water but she said she felt nauseous and didn't take any of it. Then she went out again - the same way. Eyes open wide, cold sweats, unresponsive, only this time her body was trembling, not shaking convulsively, but slightly trembling.

The fire department paramedics got there within about five or six minutes although it felt like an hour. They asked me questions, then put her on a gurney and wheeled her into the back of their truck. She was conscious at this time and seemed to do better after they laid her down. They took her vitals, including a blood sample and asked more questions.

They offered to take her to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, but she really didn't want to do that. I told the paramedics that I would take her straight to her doctor's office and they thought that was a pretty good idea, so they helped her into the back of my car and off we went. It was a good twenty minute freeway trip from where we were to back home where her doctor's office was.

After examining her, the doctor wanted her checked into the hospital for 22 hour observation. He said he wanted to have some testing done to rule out anything really serious like a stroke. His office called ahead but no beds were available so hoe she went for a few hours until the hospital could finally accommodate her. She checked in that evening and after spending the night and having the tests done the next day, was at last released to go home the following evening.

It seems that her fainting was nothing more serious than a reaction to being sick with a cold the previous week and suffering from a lack of fluids and sodium. Thank God it wasn't anything more serious. Basically she didn't give herself enough time to get over her cold.

As I write this, she is resting at home and feeling better. I saw this morning and she looked more like her old self. She promises to drink lots of water (that is so important for all of us for so many reasons), get more salt into her system, and rest. I can only tell you that seeing my sister passing out like that was one of the scariest things I ever went through. So now that I've told you my story, I'm going to give you the fatherly advice. If you are feeling under the weather this season, if you catch cold or get the flu, don't mess around - see a doctor right away. And by all means, give yourself enough time to really get well. Don't push yourself back out into the world until you are sure you're strong enough and that you are completely recovered from whatever you had.

We had a frightening episode this week, but we were lucky. Take care of yourselves and enjoy the holiday Season in the best of health.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2005 Greg Crosby