Dr. Mom

First things first – I am not a doctor…

…but I am really good at diagnosing weird things. My family has had more than our share of weird things. I have been right on a handful and wrong on a handful so really, that’s only about a 50/50 history. (At least one of those literally saved a life.) When you figure in the weirdness factor of some of the things, 50/50 is pretty good.


The other day I was braiding Maggie’s hair. We were practicing spelling words as I braided. It was a super-normal morning.  Halfway through the braid, she looked up into the mirror with huge eyes saying “I feel really ill.”

I looked into the mirror and her face had zero color in it. Not just pale, but her lips were white too. It was freaky. I told her to run for the bathroom assuming she was going to throw up any moment. I grabbed a bucket (there is a whole bucket post I promised my friend I would write. It’s coming. Promise.) and followed her into the bathroom.

She sat on the toilet for a few minutes. Still no color. After a few more minutes I asked if she felt any better or worse.

“A little better, but my face feels really hot.”

I touched her cheeks, which were ice cold, and assumed she would spike a fever any minute.

After another 10 minutes of so, I relented and let her lay in her bed with the bucket beside her. She was perking up a tad, and decided she was hungry. (I will cover this in the bucket post, but I never feed a child who (in my mind) may be on the verge of puking.)

I got her some crackers and water and by the time I checked on her again, she was in bed working on her loom making a hot pad. Her lips were back to normal and her color was much better. I said she should rest a bit longer and if “it” indeed had passed, that I would take her to school late.

Suddenly a memory came to me. Last year as I was braiding Maggie’s hair, the same thing happened. She turned sickly pale and, of course, was ordered to sit in the bathroom. She sat that time for 15 minutes before asking to watch a show. I sent her to the TV room with her bucket and within an hour, she was bouncing around the room totally fine. My husband thought I had been suckered into letting her stay home, because she was fine by the time her saw her. But I’m here to tell you, the color of her face is something you can’t fake. Lips just aren’t that color.

So then it dawned on me that both instances were while braiding her hair. And both times she was fine an hour later.

And I got to googling.

I’m pretty sure (remember I’m not a doctor) that it was a vasovagal reaction. They sometimes cause fainting, but are the result of a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate which lower oxygen to the brain. Symptoms include

  • Skin paleness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision — your field of vision is constricted so that you see only what’s in front of you
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of warmth
  • A cold, clammy sweat
And, there is an only occasionally-recognized trigger called hair groomers syncope – fainting or near fainting while having one’s hair groomed.
My husband laughed and laughed and laughed at me. He does not endorse my Dr. Google degree.
But I tell you what, Maggie sits when we braid her hair now.

2 responses to “Dr. Mom

  1. This is great!

  2. This gets me to thinking about a strange reaction I had to something a couple of times and that there is something legit to it. I believe you, Dr. Brigid Google. I do.

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