Can we talk about this cool contraption first? Seriously, I want one of these for him at home. It's my dream to find a way to keep him in his bed all night. Right? Just once it would be nice to not have him sandwiched between me and John in the middle of the night. We did get a new king bed recently and that has helped. At least I am not teetering on the edge anymore.
So vasovagal syncope. It's just a big fancy way of saying fainting. Mind you, Jerry has never actually fainted before, but for years, he has complained of not feeling well accompanied by becoming very pale and getting all clammy. We always thought it was seizure-related and had to do with his epilepsy. Turns out that's not the case. The cardiologist told us today that the symptoms are completely unrelated to his neurological disorders.
According to the Mayo Clinic, vasovagal syncope occurs when the part of your nervous system that regulates heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger, such as the sight of blood, heat exposure, being injured, etc... In Jerry's case, there are no triggers other than standing upright.
Your heart rate slows, and the blood vessels in your legs widen (dilate.) This allows blood to pool in your legs, which lowers your blood pressure. Combined, the drop in blood pressure and slowed heart rate quickly reduce blood flow to your brain, and you faint. Again, Jerry has never fainted, thank the Lord.
He did come close today however. He was strapped upright to that tilt table for approximately fifteen minutes when he started moaning and saying he didn't feel good. He got real pale, lips included, and his head started bobbing up and down and his knees started to buckle. That's what the straps are for by the way. They keep you from getting up close and personal with the tile hospital floor should you face-plant.
The cardiologist monitored him for a few more minutes in that position, watching the heart monitor and blood pressure machines he was hooked up to. When he'd seen enough, and Jerry's blood pressure dropped to 93/64 and his heart rate to 55, he had the nurse lay him flat again and we waited for his color to return.
There is no explanation for Jerry suddenly having this, it is common in teenagers, and many of them outgrow it. Until then, he is to eat lots of salty foods, take salt tablets twice a day to increase his blood pressure, and take Atenolol before bed. It is a beta blocker and will help regulate his heart rate and control his vasovagal response. On a side note, I find it ironic that, while most of us struggle to maintain a healthy blood pressure and weight, Jerry's goals are to eat as much salt as possible and consume as many calories as he can. Seriously! Livin' the dream buddy!
Unfortunately, it's another medication for him...and after we worked so hard to wean him off all of those other ones. Ergghhh! But this momma ain't messin' with low heart rates and blood pressure so no guilt here!
So there you have it. Thankful it's not more serious. Thankful it's treatable and he'll likely outgrow it, and thankful we caught it before he started fainting in school and possibly hurt himself in a fall. The enigma that is Jeremiah just keeps right on growing, doesn't it? Never a dull moment in our home. Pile it on that poor boy. Still, God is good...all the time.
I am a Christian. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am an author. In that order.