I was day seven into a bad cold when I passed out on the train to work yesterday morning.
Over the weekend I felt pretty good, but by monday night I was feeling lousy again. My wife and I take a commuter train to work. The trip takes about 45 minutes. The train felt stuffy on tuesday. I tried to sleep for most of the trip. As the train pulled into the station I got up to stand by the doors with my wife. As I stood there behind her waiting for the doors to open I felt nauseated. It was a sharp bite in my stomach. I felt like I was going to be sick. Then I started to feel lightheaded. I looked around for someplace to sit but the area by the door was packed with people. I put my hand on my wife’s shoulder and squeezed; my vision was diffused by a couple thousand white pinpricks of light.
My wife felt my hand on her shoulder, and the squeeze, then what felt like me pulling her backward. She turned around and saw me hunch over then stand up. She got me out on the platform and told me to grab onto a pillar. I remember hearing people telling me to sit down. I slowly slumped to the ground and was unresponsive for a good 30 seconds. Eyes open and everything just not responding to anyone.
When I came to I was on the train platform surrounded by a crowd of people. I immediately stood up and kept telling my wife I was fine. She was crying, afraid. A couple people asked me if this had happened before, if I was diabetic, telling me I needed to go to the hospital. One guy even scolded me for scaring “your girl.” I assured everyone I was ok and my wife and I left the platform. My first reaction was fear followed shortly by extreme embarrassment. We dodged the transit cops and the ambulances eventually making it to my doctor’s office.
He asked me how long I had been sick (“seven days”), what I had eaten for breakfast (“nothing”), and if I was running a fever that morning (“I didn’t know”). He ran an ECG, took blood, did a full exam. His Dx: I was dehydrated with a sinus infection and was running a low grade fever (100.6). That the long trip on a stuffy train with no food or fluids, not to mention the fever, caused a vasovagal syncope when I stood up. That I was lucky my wife was there to break my fall or I could’ve seriously injured myself.
As my biggest fears were assuaged (I didn’t have a seizure, didn’t have cancer) the embarrassment of the whole thing started rolling over me in waves. I rode the train with these people every morning. I was surrounded by strangers during one of my weakest moments. I scared the daylights out of my wife. I didn’t tell my friends of coworkers what happened. I’m mortified at the prospect of having to ride the train again.
Just wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar experience. Something that started out very scary, and ended up just being terribly embarrassing.