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Injuries From Fainting


flop
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I've had so many faints over the last few years that I can't remember how many I've had (stopped counting at 200 and must be more like 500 now). Early on in my illness I remember getting a minor head injury from hitting my head on the wheeled base of a piece of equipment - that time I got a cut on the back of my head. Over 2 years ago I had another nasty experience of fainting in a very small "kitchen" at work - we think I hit my head on the sink/worktop then the waste bin and got my head jammed up againt the bin. That resulted in my knocking myself out cold for 10mins then having severe neck pain afterwards (in fact neck hasn't been right since).

Other than those 2 episodes, I usually faint and fall to the floor, come round a few seconds later and have sustained no injuries other than minor bruises.

However I had a nasty experience at work the other day. I use a wheelchair for moving about most parts of the building, but we have a staff rest area with bathroom, coffee room, lockers etc and I don't take the wheelchair in there.

I had got up and walked down the passage to put my bottle of squash back in my locker. I must have fainted and fallen backwards into the set of lockers behind me on the other side of the passage. Once again I must have knocked myself out, but I hit the lockers really hard on my right hand side. I ended up somehow managing to dislocate my right elbow and shoulder.

When I turned up in A&E (ER) no-one believed my story of how I'd sustained the injuries as there is hardly a bruise on me. In fact I think the nurses were debating calling the police / social services thinking that a boyfriend must have been dragging me arround, LOL!

Joints went back into place suprisingly easily, with immediate relief of most of the pain. The problem I have now is how am I supposed to propel a wheelchair with my right arm in a collar-and-cuff sling??? Pushing with one arm only would result in me going round and round in circles!!! I can manage small distances peddling with my feet "Fred Flintstone car" style but with a fixed footrest it isn't possible to go far or quickly with this method.

Any suggestions??

Those of you who faint, do you tend to get injured when landing?

Flop

(sore and battered)

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Dear sore and batterd Flop,

I'm so sorry to hear you got hurt. Ouch, ouch. Hmm....the sling does pose a quite a problem for getting around in a wheelchair. How long do you have to be in the sling? Is there a disability organization that you could borrow a power chair from for a little while? I don't know exactly how that works in the UK.

I don't faint often, but when I do I always go down slowly. I usually just crumple to the floor and wake up like I've just been curled up for a nap or something. I'm fortunate that I've never fallen and hit something. I think I'm one of the few.

I hope you feel better soon.

Rachel

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Rachel,

thanks for the suggestion of a power chair - I wish I could borrow one. The NHS is particularly bad at providing things like wheelchairs (other than very basic attendant propelled folding chairs). I am currently using a chair borrowed (as a special favour) from a wheelchair manufacturer (sports style wheelchair). RGK kindly leant me a chair whilst I wait for funding to be sorted out from "Access to Work" to pay for a personalised chair for me. I don't think the company thought it would take this long for the funding to be sorted, once funding is approved it takes about 6 weeks for RGK to make the chair so I'm hoping to have my own before Christmas.

I think I'll just have to persuade collegues to push me about the building!

Flop

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I usually just end up bruised, but I have aparently tumbled down the 2 steps to the laundry/Gayla's computer/TV room a couple of times and hurt my shoulder, but never have dislocated it.

I hope you manage to find someone to push you around while you are recovering!

Got a big dog you could harness??? (Just kidding!)

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I've had a few concussions from fainting,but usually end up bruised with scrapes on my legs.....like right now. Someone said I landed on a chair once. My arm hurt for weeks! They say when I faint I usually go down pretty fast.

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I just get presyncope, but haven't actually fainted. But I use a scooter at work for going distances because of my joints. It's electric. I paid for it out of pocket, and was told that my insurance would never pay, as I'm not in bad enough shape. We figured it was an investment that would allow me to keep my job---which is ultimately worth a lot more than the price of the scooter. When I've been out of town, I've been able to rent scooters for brief periods, so as not to have to transport mine.

I could never push myself in a manual chair. With my eds shoulder, wrists, elbows, I'd be in trouble fast.

I remember you said there was suspicion that you might have eds-- could that explain the dislocation and ease of getting joints back in place, with minimal visible damage?

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Flop,

I'm sorry to hear about your injuries and frequent fainting.

I can tell you that, if I am looking up to access an over head shelf or the clothes line I fall straight back and those are the times I hurt myself. Other times I crumple like Rachel says, and don't get hurt.

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I do the "falling over backwards" type fainting, rather than the gentler "crumpling to the floor" no matter what I'm doing at the time (always whilst standing up though). I think I usually go down like a bowling pin - fast and in a straight line, crashing into things as I go. I usually try to make sure that I don't stand in confined spaces or with furniture behind me that I might bump into. I guess I'll have to take even more care at work. I think that perhaps being so tired from working night shifts meant that I didn't feel any warning signs creeping up on me. (Can't get out of the night shifts or change job at the moment, just have to find a way of coping and limiting the damage).

Flop

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Actually my screen name was borrowed from my favourite soft toy rabbit. He's rather cute, fluffy and came from the british fabric / clothes shop "Liberty" (doesn't look much like a real rabbit but that doesn't matter). My sister and I have 2 full size Liberty rabbits and a smaller one too - they're called Flop, Flop and Baby Flop (weren't we imaginative). All the fault of a much older friend who had one. Even more alarming is that they have "their own voices" although most of the words they say are interspaced with Flop floppy flop! For example "Flop flop hungry flop, carrots flop!!!" (I was exceedingly mad as a pre-teenager, well still am mad to be truthful!!).

So name stolen from a bunny rabbit but now really does fit quite well doesn't it?

Flop

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love the name story flop...we had a post re: the story behind folk's names some time ago & it was fun/ interesting to get the "backstories". and yep, yours has taken on multiple meanings now i suppose (in regard to you flopping around a bit too much at times :o ) mine too started as one thing but has evolved into many over the years. but anyhoo...

so sorry to hear about your "encounter" though i too applaud your ability to recount the tale with a sense of humor.

regarding injuries from fainting, i've fainted MANY times over the years. mostly my spoils have been assorted bumps, bruises, & scrapes, but i've ended up going head first down flights of stairs a few times (three i believe) and one of them (the last) resulted in my needing cervical spine surgery. i actually don't faint as much any more - at least not fully - as i either get more warning &/or am better at heading/ noticing the warning i get; i think it's probably a combination of both. so while i'm certainly not better/ healthier than i was in years past (far from it) i don't fully crash to the ground much these days (though you will find me crawling).

hope the arm/ shoulder is feeling better soon...

:D melissa

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Hope you are feeling better. I have sustained loads of injuries: I have broken an elbow, a foot, dislocated both shoulders, almost broken my neck, and concussed myself. And also bashed fingers as well.

But I haven't fainted for ages- feel a lot better.

Hope you reach this point sooner rather than later

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Hope your shoulder is better! My power chair is right handed, so even if I hurt that part, I'd still have problems. I have had 2 concussions, broken all but one toe, fractured ribs, vertebrae in my back, pulled my neck muscles so many times, I sometimes wonder if they will ever stop hurting, broken an ankle, wrist, and my elbow.

There have only been a few times I've gone back like a tree, I tend to crumple or "fold like an accordian" according to my hubs. What I always manage to do, for some reason, is whack one or both kness on something, hard. They usually smack a wall or the floor or something, but they always get whacked on something. Isn't this fun! :);)

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Once I woke up on the kitchen floor with a paring knife in my gut and had to have emergency surgery to remove it.... I have no idea how it got there as I don't remember the entire day or how I ended up in the kitchen. I just know I don't recommend it as you WILL end up labeled as suicidal and in 72 hour lockdown (c'mon... I would've used the BIG knife! I'm not stupid!). Then I got to leave the mental health facility with a diagnosis of being "too happy" for someone in a w/c on O2 24/7... She told me I had DID (disassociative identity disorder).

The first time I passed out that wasn't in a controlled setting was on my bike (haven't been on one since) on July 4, 2003. I ended up with gravel embedded in my knee and a broken wrist... But it took the doctors TEN DAYS to diagnosis the wrist (which is worse the time I walked around the broken wrist for 10 days or the time I had appendcitis for five days before the docs figured it out, after 3 ER visits).

There is also a dent in the foyer wall where it made contact with my head (concussion). I was taking my guitar lesson and stood up, and went back down... I fell so hard I knock his music stand that was nailed into the wall out (concussion again). I was taking a shower (in my room... I can't sit in there cause I'm too tall) and I fainted out of the shower... Down comes Alexa, curtain and all (concussion, dislocated ribs). And I've taken more tumbles down the stairs than I care to admit to... I now sleep on the floor in the living room (partly cause it feels good on my instable neck until it gets fixed, partly cuz it hurts to slam into the slate at the base of the stairs).

My head and knees seem to take the brunt of the damage... My knees are ALWAYS swollen and bruised. My physical therapist when I get in the pool is always counting up my bruises in her head.

And this wasn't from fainting but when I first got my wheelchair I tried to take it down the stairs like in the movie "The Changling" (with George C. Scott... OLD horror movie)... Anyways... It doesn't work like it did in the movie... I ended up face planting and breaking the arm off the rental chair. That was chair #1. Now I have my own "electric purple" chair to fit my 5'10" body (my thighs are 23" long)... anyone here ever do something stupid like that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi stellakitty,

your knife injury must have been awful, I'm glad I haven't had any that bad! I have woken up on the kitchen floor with a kettle full of boiling water wobbling on the edge of the counter half off the counter over my head. I stopped drinking hot drinks for quite a while after that scare!

I thought I'd update with my latest injuries - have had sinusitis (again!) so have had quite a lot of blackouts in the last couple of weeks. I'm now up to 3 elbow dislocations and 2 shoulder dislocations. I have a wonderful bruise on my right arm from fainting in the shower last week. Managed a proper assortment of injuries: bruised arm and dislocated shoulder, and managed to whack under my jaw on the handle of the bath. That left a nice bruise, a huge "bite" in my cheek and 2 broken teeth. I've just got back from having the teeth filled at the dentist (one of them would have to be a top front tooth wouldn't it?).

Grrrrr, I'll be glad when I've shaken off this bug and hopefully go back to fainting less often.

Floppety Flop!

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I don't know that I have much advice for you but I do have lots of empathy!

I have had lots of injuries as a result of fainting. Broken toes, foot, fingers, wrist, ribs. Tons of pulled muscles, concussions etc.. I live with bruises all the time.

I have a power chair and since I am using that more and more I injure myself much less but it's hard to resort to using the chair all the time because I WANT to be up and moving around. I use a pilates machine to keep my muscle tone up and that works well for me since pilates is not cardiovascular (although for me, it's cardio exercise enough because my heart rate still goes sky high).

I've learned to vacuum from the power chair but it is very challenging to do so. The hardest thing though is not having an I.V. pole that will attach to my chair so sometimes I'm trying to operate the power chair and move an I.V. pole at the same time.

I hope you are feeling much better by now and that your teeth aren't hurting!

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