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Graduation ceremony


Ernie
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Hi everyone,

I have just finished my bachelor of arts with a major in Psychology. I am so excited to finaly graduate.

It has been a difficult degree to earn because of al the fainting I went through the past 3 years. Often I have tought of stopping but with support and medication I managed to complete my degree.

I went to get my graduation gown on Friday and yesterday my friend and I took pictures. I am graduating this coming Thursday morning and I am very nervous about the whole ceremony.

My standing time is between 2-5 minutes before syncope and the university would like me to take a wheelchair to avoid any risk. I told them that for me it is very important that I get my degree upright. They have made special arrangements so that I don't have to wait anywhere.

I am still very nervous about the ceremony because I don't want to spoil one of the most important day of my life.

Do you have any advice (beside using a wheelchair) to help me through the ceremony?

Thank you

Ernie

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Hi Ernie!!

First of all CONGRATULATIONS!! My advice is this. If it was me, I would wear either the compression hose or super tight nylons, and then the least I could get away with. Your not going to be taking off your gown anyway so why be HOT. Just one more symptom to deal with. Noone else will know anyway :) What a cool secret!! Then instead of being nervous up there, you'll just have a smile thinking if they only knew ;)

Best wishes, I for one am very VERY PROUD.

Sue

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Ernie,

First of all, I just wanted to congratulate you once again on your FANTASTIC acheivements! You have worked so hard for this, and I am hoping your graduation day will be a symbolic moment in your life. How is it going to proceed? Could you sit down until the very last minute when you walk across? That's what I would do, in addition to getting plenty of rest the night before and all day up until your commencment, drinking as much fluid as you possibly can right up until you walk...as well as taking your Midodrine 15-20 minutes before and wearing some compression hose the whole time.

I'm sure you will do just fine! We'll be cheering you on Thursday morning ;)

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All these suggestions sound good. Two to three minutes standing before fainting isn't very much--but it's enough to walk across the stage to accept your diploma! If you know you cannot stand more than 3 minutes, period, no matter what you do (midodrine, compression hose, hydration, and all those other suggestions), then I would go ahead with the wheelchair UNTIL it's your moment to shine! Then get up and go in all your glory!

Another option might to have along w/you one of those canes that has a pull-out seat in case you feel faint during the ceremony.

By the way, are you OK if you're walking around? Because if so, maybe you'd be OK w'out that chair if you keep those legs moving...kind of march in place and/or do those muscle-tightening exercises, toe raises, etc.

Good luck--and CONGRATULATIONS!

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Merrill, Ethanson, Sue, Susie thank you very much for your support and suggestions. I can read by your kind words that you really understand the feelings I am going through. It means very much to me.

The plan university has made is that I will get in by the back door so that I don't have to wait in front of the door and be stuck in a bottleneck when the door opens. Then I will be sitting in the first seat in the front row with my best friend. My best friend will also be wearing a "gown" so as not to stand out. They will not make me stand in line and I will only need to stand when they call my name. I have about 7-10 steps to climb and 30 feet to walk to get my degree. (This is the spot where I am the most concerned about.) Then I have to walk back to my seat. My best friend will be holding my arm all the time I walk and will sit me down immediately as soon as she feels my hand sweating or shaking (my 5 seconds warning). She will discretely carry my portable chair.

Another dangerous time is that I will have guests overnight. They are coming from out ot town. So I don't know how many hours of sleep I will be getting.

I don't know if I should wear my long support hose or the knee high. The long ones give me more standing time but they also give me knee pain and irritate my skin so much that I also get irritable. Usually I wear the long ones only when I have to stand and walk around for a while but this time I have to sit 3-4 hours.

Like you mentioned, I need to be careful about my emotions. It will be hard to control excitement of graduating and fear of fainting. I have a real challenge on my hand and I want my moment of glory.

Thanks for listening to me.

Ernie

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Ernie, I think it's time to start experimenting with different brands of compression hose! My cardiologist (and several others since then) have told me to always wear thigh high or higher--not the knee high. (I had thought I was getting great benefit from the knee highs for a few months before that--and I had--but since I've been wearing thigh high, I do even better!)

However, the long ones shouldn't be causing knee pain and skin irritation. I'm guessing you don't have the right size and brand on hand... There are a LOT of differences among brands, and people who wear these get attached to the brand that fits them best.

I know you don't have time before Thursday to get this figured out--you already have a lot on your plate. But promise yourself a graduation present! Do a search on this site and on NDRF to see what others have to say... it may depend on height and weight and getting properly measured at a reputable medical supply store.

So be good to yourself--and try not to worry too much about graduation day! Think positive! (Easier said than done, right? ;) )

m

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