This morning I had my 3rd-ever encounter with the phenomenon I refer to as jasovargal occurrence. It is more commonly recognized as vasovagal syncope or vagal response.
As some of you know Lauren and I are participating in a clinical trial to test delivery methods for the yellow fever vaccine. We basically get the vaccine (today) with an additional two shots in your butt. This is either immune globulin or saline solution (the placebo), and this is what the test really is. After that we have to go for a lot of blood draws and they look at the immune response to both methods of administering the vaccine.
About a month ago we went for our first visit where they took blood to check for existing immunity and other peculiarities. Everything was fine and today we went back for the vaccine itself. First they did a blood draw for a baseline and this is where I ran into my jasovargal occurrence.
The first time I ever had a jasovargal experience was junior year in high school when I was finally eligible to donate blood at the blood drive. Questionnaire, check. Ear prick iron test, check. Give blood, check. I headed over to the table for some cookies and orange juice confident in my deed and ready to slap a little red cross sticker on my shirt. The next thing I knew I was laying on the ground staring at the ceiling. I had fainted and fallen straight back in the chair I was sitting upon. I decided to take a break from donating.
Let me step back and tell you that I have always been told that I have lovely veins. They are sort of popping out of the skin and phlebotomists look at them and start drooling. Such flattery does nothing to dissuade me from situations where my blood is drawn, thus compounding my problems with jasovargal occurrences.
In college I decided to give it another change. The ole’ college try, if you will. The whole act of doing something that was not graded or intoxicating drew immediate attention and ridicule from my hyper-masculine roommates. At the student union, again I made it through the pint and again I felt weak and dizzy but made it over to the beds with some help. There a paper bag was quickly held to my face and I was given more cookies and juice. More ridicule followed. It just occurred to me that the nurse told me not to give blood again. This study is different (I have just convinced myself).
Today I again felt weak, the lights got bright, I was sweating, and my ears ringing. In this setting, it is nice that the nurse and doctors are right there for you, and there are repeat interactions. Tomorrow they’ll know what they’re getting into and take precautions (drink juices before as well as after). They’ve seen this before. I’ll let you know what happens.
Have your own vagal response story?