Skip to content Skip to navigation

Out of the blue, I fainted

April 7, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

The other day, after my aide completed my morning routine, I needed to be transferred to my power chair. Shelley (a pseudonym) said all the other aides were busy with residents. She told me she was going to get the nurse to assist her.

When they came in, Shelley said she would stand me by herself, as she has many times without incident. Shelley reached under my arms and pulled up slightly. Then she gave me a tug and pulled me up and out of my shower chair.

When I was standing upright, I felt lightheaded and heard a pinging sound in my head. I only said, "I think I am going to pass out," and lost consciousness. As I came to, I heard voices first and saw that I was being eased into my power wheelchair. I felt strange and asked whether I had fainted.

They told me I had. I asked Shelley how she had held me up when I was dead weight. She said she would not let me fall. She also reminded me I had warned her I was about to pass out. I told her I appreciated her for being able to hold me up.

Shelley and the nurse were extremely calm. I felt weird, like I have when I have awakened from anesthetic. Though my head felt heavy and achy, I got set up at my computer.

I fainted here a couple of years ago when a young male aide stood me up out of my power chair after an outing. I stood up and lost consciousness. But that time, I came to, before I got back into my power chair. It scared the wits out of the aide, and he was quite concerned about me. I told him to be calm because I knew that a medicine I took then could cause me to pass out if I got up too quickly.

I think I have only fainted maybe three times in my life, so it concerns me that it happened. Before I stand, I am careful to warn the aides to stand me slowly.

I read online that if I tighten my leg muscles when an aide stands me, I am less likely to faint from lack of blood to my brain. I have tried that, and so far it has helped.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...