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