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  #1  
Old 09-25-1999, 11:37 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Let's leave aside the reason you're bleeding, since obviously, say, a gunshot or a knife in the stomach would be painful...

Let's say someone put an IV tube in you, numbing the area thouroughly, and then set the tube draining the blood from you. Would it be a painful death or would you just get really lightheaded and pass out, then die?

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  #2  
Old 09-25-1999, 03:19 PM
Suzeanne Suzeanne is offline
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I've had at least three occasions where I came very close to "bleeding to death." (I don't clot very well, so ...)

In all three cases, aside from whatver caused the bleeding, everything felt really distant and hazy. I don't remember an awful lot of it, everything was that fuzzy. I do, however, remember that it didn't hurt, knowing I was going to die if they didn't do something about it.

Kinda weird.
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Old 09-25-1999, 06:35 PM
TVeblen TVeblen is offline
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I think that you would grow light headed and faint before death. As to whether or not it's painful, well, that's another whole thing.

BTW, you might check out a book called (I think) How We Die. It's written by a doctor and describes the actual processes of death from various causes. A friend had lost her husband to a totally unexpected heart attack, and I just couldn't finish the that part. The book actually tells the *feeling* of death from various causes. I don't remember that bleeding to death was one, though.

My guess is that as blood pressure drops, unconsciousness would result. But I don't know how much pain--physical and mental awareness--there would be be. The only thing I can recall offhand is a section of the book, The Devils of Loudun, where it describes the torture and burning death of a priest.

I got lightheaded even reading it, but the book described a sort of natural anesthetic that kicks in when the body perceives an injury as mortal. Don't accept this without better authority, but IIRC it's the basis of surgical shock, a sort of merciful cancellation of pain. I have no idea of the *mental* awareness involved though, so while the physical pain may be muted, I have no idea if the pain of knowing one is dyng is gentled, too.

This isn't much of an answer. I will try to find out more, if you would like. Or better, still perhaps Dr. J. or a medical professional here can give a real answer.

Veb
  #4  
Old 09-25-1999, 07:49 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Once upon a time, I came very close to such a passing. I do remember becoming quite lightheaded, but I had some sensations from the injury that was causing the bleeding (my liver was in shreds) so I can't really describe the experience as blissful. But I think you would probably become increasingly light headed and then just go lights out. I can't really imagine why a loss of blood would cause pain - what nerves would be stimulated to produce any pain?

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  #5  
Old 09-25-1999, 08:14 PM
Therealbubba Therealbubba is offline
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It must depend on how fast you bleed. If blood is lost fast, the brain will shut down before any other organ system can be affected. However, if the bleeding was rather slow, say one unit per hour, you could concievably have a lethal arrythmia before you passed out.

The most likely arrythemia would be ventricular fibrillation. This would cause the blood flow in the coronary arteries to diminish or stop, leading to a myocardial infarction. We all know that an MI will give you crushing chest pain, among other symtoms.

The upside (if you want to call it that) is that your heart attack probably wouldn't last too long. So my answer is yes, it is possible to feel pain from bleeding to death, albeit indirectly.

Therealbubba
  #6  
Old 09-25-1999, 08:21 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Good answer - I hadn't thought it through that well.
  #7  
Old 09-26-1999, 12:29 AM
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I think you would painlessly pass out and die. Donating blood is painless once the needle is inserted. (Well, there is some mild discomfort from having the needle there.) I once had a nosebleed severe enough that I eventually passed out (by then I was at the emergency room) and there was no pain. In fact it felt pretty good at the time.

BTW the technical term for losing all your blood is exsanguination. The ER tech (different occasion) told us this as he pointed out that we all stop bleeding eventually!


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  #8  
Old 09-26-1999, 06:20 AM
bantmof bantmof is offline
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...everything felt really distant and hazy. I don't remember an awful lot of it, everything was that fuzzy
I'm like that all the time.

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  #9  
Old 09-26-1999, 07:46 AM
Nickrz Nickrz is offline
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If I were conscious to see that much of my own blood (or anyone else's, for that matter), that condition would not last very long. I dunno how those paramedics or doctors or nurses or anyone can withstand the horror of seeing that stuff (and worse) all the time, which is why I don't understand the popularity of "Life in the E.R." genre of TLC shows.

Makes me queasy and I shudder every time I even surf past one of those commercials. Sorry for the MPSIMmy reply, but does anyone else think that stuff is ghoulish?
  #10  
Old 09-26-1999, 09:29 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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I dunno how those paramedics or doctors or nurses or anyone can withstand the horror of seeing that stuff (and worse) all the time...
It's like violence. You see enough of it, and it doesn't faze you anymore. Personally, I'm fascinated by the surgical shows. I've seen heart surgeries where they had to cut through ribs, mammographies, and transplant surgeries. The *only* time I've gotten remotely sick was when I flicked on the show without knowing what the operation was. I had a magnified view of a human body part. I couldn't figure out what it was until finally I recognized a big toe! They were doing bunion surgery. Don't know why, but something about that hairy toe did me in....
  #11  
Old 09-26-1999, 06:49 PM
pluto pluto is offline
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Personally, I'm fascinated by the surgical shows.
I've only seen a couple of these. One was a breast reconstruction. I thought it would be interesting, maybe even a little titillating. It was not! They took a piece of flesh from the abdomen, dragged it under the skin and muscles, poked it out at the appropriate spot, and kinda folded it to the right general shape. Seems to me it would have been easier just to use a prosthesis, but they didn't ask my opinion.

The other was an arthroscopic knee surgery, replacing the anterior cruciate ligament or some such thing. A lot less bloody, but...In order to give the surgeons room to work they pump the knee joint full of water. They had already drilled and poked a number of holes in this guy's knee for various reasons. When they started the water it looked like something out of a Yosemite Sam cartoon, or maybe fireboats in New York Harbor. Water was shooting everywhere! Yuk!



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  #12  
Old 09-26-1999, 10:13 PM
Prairie Rose Prairie Rose is offline
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I almost bled to death during my emergency c-section three months ago. I don't know how the various medications they were giving me affected things, but I can pretty much verify that it is a drowsy, peaceful sort of thing. Strange to feel that way when everyone was bustling around and working so hard, too.

Glad to still be here, and even gladder to have my dear son. But not an experience I ever want to repeat.

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  #13  
Old 09-27-1999, 04:27 AM
TheIncredibleHolg TheIncredibleHolg is offline
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Personally, I'm fascinated by the surgical shows. I've seen heart surgeries where they had to cut through ribs, ..
I kind of like those, too. But I cringe at the very thought (not to mention sight) of surgery to the eyes or genitals. I wonder why that is.

However, the only TV show that ever made me do without dinner was a British pseudo-documentary that depicted the possibility of a nuclear war. (I don't remember the title, though.) It was old (60s or so), b/w, and not very graphic. Still, it was damn realistic and just about made me sick.
Quote:
does anyone else think that stuff is ghoulish?
Not really, but I'm amazed at the number of people here who have actually been in a situation where they almost bled to death!
  #14  
Old 09-27-1999, 02:54 PM
Drain Bead Drain Bead is offline
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The aforementioned How We Die is written by a doctor named Sherwin Nuland, and it's probably one of the better books of nonfiction I've read in recent memory. The chapter about murder and serenity was the one that got me.
  #15  
Old 09-27-1999, 04:10 PM
voltaire voltaire is offline
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I always thought (mostly based on movies I guess) that you just feel cold. I don't think there would be any pain involved since its just like when you cut off the circulation to your leg and it "falls asleep". So put me down for cold & numb.
  #16  
Old 09-27-1999, 04:24 PM
The Ryan The Ryan is offline
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beatle posted 09-25-1999 07:49 PM
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I can't really imagine why a loss of blood would cause pain - what nerves would be stimulated to produce any pain?
I would depend a lot on how the body "decides" to allocate the rapidly shrinking supply of blood. If the heart is deprived of blood, that could cause chest pains. If the brain is deprived of blood, that can cause large changes in perception and sensation. Since the brain is basically a bunch of nerves, any change in the chemical environment of the brain can cause diverse effects.
  #17  
Old 09-27-1999, 09:34 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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As noted several posts above, I didn't really thinks this one through. Experienced a little rash of that this weekend.

Nevertheless, I don't think we've gotten to the answer yet. A couple of searches for "bleeding", "bleeding to death" and "hemorrhage" have taught me a little bit about first aid and that there is some (apparently metal) band called Bleeding to Death. Nothing on the experience, and I don't suppose we can expect to hear from any of those who've brought it to consumation.

But we do know that those who flirt with the experience become lightheaded and that catastrophic blood loss may well induce a painful heart attack. Unless I've failed to get over my weekend's attention deficit, I think we're mostly down to: would you be unconscious prior to the possibly painful events (or, maybe, would your sensory perception be so diminished as to render the heart attack or chest pains minor?)?

We are, of course, ignoring particular scenarios. The gunshot or knife wound (or conscious perception of impending demise) might have some play on your perception that would involve a different situation from that of somebody who didn't get sewed up quite right after a routine surgery and drifts off in ICU.

Ugh.

Regards
  #18  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:25 PM
LeeTK LeeTK is offline
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I came close to bleeding to death a few years ago.
I had had previous abdominal surgery, had recovered and gone back to work. all was well.
I came home from work one evening via Tesco, after putting the shopping away I felt tired so decided to have a quick lie down while I thought about what to have for supper.
I woke up a few minutes later - or so I thought - and felt thirsty so stood up to go into the bathroom. I realized I was soaking wet and thought at first it was sweat. It was actually blood. I had in fact been unconscious for over an hour. The police later estimated aprox 1.5 ltr of blood in my bed and carpet next to the bed and a further 1 ltr in the bathroom with another half litre in my clothes. I remember feeling very dizzy, then so weak I sank to the floor just grabbing my mobile in time. I managed to call 999 and the ambulance controller kept me alive by keeping me talking for as long as I could. I eventually passed out and the police and paramedics broke my door down and saved my life.
I was slumped on the floor on my hands and knees with my head on the carpet, I remember gasping for breath with my voice getting weaker and vision and hearing going distant. Even though I was on my knees, face down, head on the floor I remember feeling very peaceful, like I was lying on my back on a bed of soft feathers, then I just drifted off. I was dead and the medics broke in just in time and brought me back.
It was not painful at all though and I am now not frightened of dying.
  #19  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:11 PM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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No, because if the worst comes to the worst you will rise up and lurch off looking for braiinsss....
  #20  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:15 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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LeeTK, you should be aware that the thread you have posted to is more than a decade old, and many of the original posters to it are no longer around to comment on it. That said, we don't mind resurrecting old threads when you have something relevant to post to them, and to me your post does seem to be relevant.

Old resurrected threads are commonly called "zombies" around here, so don't be too surprised if you get a few zombie jokes as a result of resurrecting such an old thread (hence the "braiinsss" comment from Malacandra).
  #21  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:26 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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No, because if the worst comes to the worst you will rise up and lurch off looking for braiinsss....
If only Lee TK could have waited a couple more weeks to revive this one. It'd have been a perfect Halloween thread.

Actually, I want more input on the myocardial infarction scenario presented by Therealbubba. How likely is this? And how slow does the bleed need to be in order to be aware of it when/if it happens?
  #22  
Old 10-12-2011, 03:00 PM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
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Originally Posted by LeeTK View Post
I came close to bleeding to death a few years ago.
I had had previous abdominal surgery, had recovered and gone back to work. all was well.
I came home from work one evening via Tesco, after putting the shopping away I felt tired so decided to have a quick lie down while I thought about what to have for supper.
I woke up a few minutes later - or so I thought - and felt thirsty so stood up to go into the bathroom. I realized I was soaking wet and thought at first it was sweat. It was actually blood. I had in fact been unconscious for over an hour. The police later estimated aprox 1.5 ltr of blood in my bed and carpet next to the bed and a further 1 ltr in the bathroom with another half litre in my clothes. I remember feeling very dizzy, then so weak I sank to the floor just grabbing my mobile in time. I managed to call 999 and the ambulance controller kept me alive by keeping me talking for as long as I could. I eventually passed out and the police and paramedics broke my door down and saved my life.
I was slumped on the floor on my hands and knees with my head on the carpet, I remember gasping for breath with my voice getting weaker and vision and hearing going distant. Even though I was on my knees, face down, head on the floor I remember feeling very peaceful, like I was lying on my back on a bed of soft feathers, then I just drifted off. I was dead and the medics broke in just in time and brought me back.
It was not painful at all though and I am now not frightened of dying.
Wow! That's an incredible story, and I am so glad you were able to reach your phone in time to make that life saving call.
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:32 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Didn't the Romans like to commit suicide by bleeding to death in a hot bath, often with witnesses?

If so, I would think that's evidence that it's not clearly excruciating. Both because I would think it would fall out of favor as a suicide method if it caused rolling around in screaming agony, and because if it was excruciatingly painful, well, then the Romans would have no need to go to the trouble of building actual wooden crosses...
  #24  
Old 10-12-2011, 03:39 PM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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12 years is a long time to be bleeding.
  #25  
Old 10-12-2011, 09:52 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
.....

I got lightheaded even reading it, but the book described a sort of natural anesthetic that kicks in when the body perceives an injury as mortal. Don't accept this without better authority, but IIRC it's the basis of surgical shock, a sort of merciful cancellation of pain. I have no idea of the *mental* awareness involved though, so while the physical pain may be muted, ...
Veb
Re "surgical shock." I've never heard this term. A while ago there was a thread (I think I was the OP, come to think of it) where the question became whether animals, as they were being eaten alive, e.g., went into some altered, non-aware consciousness (a conclusion to assuage the horror we feel); one respondent said essentially "deal with it, the animal is aware of each agonizing second."

I, like many others, wonder and wish if, God forbid, we were in a torturous situation, when and to what degree "surgical shock" would kick in?
  #26  
Old 10-12-2011, 10:15 PM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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In the book Dan Brown's Lost Symbol one character tries to kill another by bleeding to death.

Isnt the cause of death of wrist slitting bleeding to death?
  #27  
Old 10-13-2011, 12:34 AM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is offline
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To add a disquieting note, I have heard an emergency doctor testify that if a person is bleeding, the body compensates as much as it can by contracting the peripheral vascular system so as to keep the blood close to the body core and brain to maintain function for as long as possible.

But there comes a point, usually very close to death, when the body abandons this attempt, and "decompensates", resulting in the peripheral vascularity returning to business as usual.

This, he said, is accompanied by a sense of mortal terror and of impending death, if the patient is still conscious.

Why was this evidence necessary? Because one of the tests for the hearsay exception is the "dying declaration", where the declarant needs to have a "settled, hopeless expectation of death". This evidence was led to describe why the declarant in this case had such an expectation.
  #28  
Old 10-13-2011, 12:38 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Except for maybe the needle, it doesn't hurt to donate blood. I don't see why donating all of it would be any more painful.
  #29  
Old 10-13-2011, 01:26 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Except for maybe the needle, it doesn't hurt to donate blood. I don't see why donating all of it would be any more painful.
It sounds from posts above like it may not be painful but I don't know that your reasoning follows. Just because losing some blood doesn't hurt it doesn't seem logically to follow through to a conclusion that losing a lot more also wouldn't hurt.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:53 AM
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Two anecdotes: In the book Rawhide Down Ronald Reagan is reported to have been in pretty good spirits despite nearly bleeding to death. His main complaint was that it was hard to breathe, and this was because internal bleeding was crowding his lungs.

Second, one of my daughter's acquaintances suffered a gunshot near the heart and the report was much like LeeTK's. He felt tired, noticed wetness, and when he exited the car his friends noticed that the car seat was drenched in blood.
  #31  
Old 10-14-2011, 04:18 AM
aux203 aux203 is offline
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Originally Posted by Noel Prosequi View Post
But there comes a point, usually very close to death, when the body abandons this attempt, and "decompensates", resulting in the peripheral vascularity returning to business as usual.

This, he said, is accompanied by a sense of mortal terror and of impending death, if the patient is still conscious.

Why was this evidence necessary? Because one of the tests for the hearsay exception is the "dying declaration", where the declarant needs to have a "settled, hopeless expectation of death". This evidence was led to describe why the declarant in this case had such an expectation.
I have never seen or heard of this phenomenon. Thousands of people have died with vascular monitors in place and I've never noticed or heard of a drop in peripheral resistance before death.

Not to say terror before death is uncommon but there are a lot of reasons for that. Many with life threatening bleeding have significant trauma, which not suprisingly tends to cause some distress which can confuse the issue. However, there are plenty of people who suffered relatively minor trauma and proceeded to bleed to death. Speen injuries are the classic, though liver injuries do it too. These people generally have some modest degree of discomfort right up until they pass out. Same with people who nick an artery, usually in the forearm or scalp. They may feel lightheaded and/or pass out but pain doesn't really seem to be a major issue. Even for the sober ones.

Bleeding without trauma is actually quite common too and is usually associated with the GI tract. People can drop liters of blood and don't realize it before either vomiting or defecating an alarming amount of blood. Pain is not generally associated with blood loss and again they usually get lightheaded, weak, and pass out long before they actually die.

Anemia can precipitate a heart attack in people with cardiac issues which would be painful. Usually the heart attack comes first, not the arrythmia. Healthy hearts will continue beating happily (albeit ineffectually) for quite a while even after a patient is brain dead from blood loss.

So no, bleeding to death isn't particularly painful. I always wondered why it wasn't a more common method of suicide but I suppose the requisite knowledge isn't in general circulation, which is perhaps a good thing.
  #32  
Old 06-01-2013, 01:07 PM
Jesireg@aol.com Jesireg@aol.com is offline
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Dying of blood loss

I almost died of blood loss after childbirth because I was hemmorraging- for almost 12 hours, until they final did surgery to save me, which required removing my uterus. Anyway, I remember nausea and gagging a lot, dizziness and delirium. Going sort of in and out of consciousness. Knowing I was dying if they didn't fix this, but so weak I wasn't afraid. Too "out of it" to feel any emotion really. It wasn't "painful", but it was awful. The nausea was terrible (an effect of blood pressure dropping). I could barely move or speak. A feeling of total helplessness. Crazy. In retrospect I feel the "trauma", the "fear"; but I didn't feel it while it was happening. When I woke up in the icu, the nurse said to me "we are so happy you're here". And I was thinking "why are you happy that I'm here? Thats weird." I asked, "why? Did I almost die or something?" And she said "yes".
  #33  
Old 06-01-2013, 01:37 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Welcome to the Straight Dope, Jesireg@aol.com!
It seems that you've posted to a 'zombie' thread.

Just a friendly tip, if you haven't already done so, you really should read the 'rules for posting'. If you click on the FAQ, located at the top in the blue bar, it will lead you to the 'General Forum Usage' page.
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  #34  
Old 06-01-2013, 02:57 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is online now
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Not just a zombie, a double zombie. Maybe even triple, considering the OP.
  #35  
Old 06-01-2013, 03:20 PM
April R April R is offline
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Plus I don't think using your aol address would be very safe username
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:43 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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I once drove a guy to the hospital who had gashed his hand open in an industrial accident, and he was seriously bleeding, but seemed to be more in fear and anger than in pain, although I'm sure it hurt a hell of a lot, too, from the trauma. He lost about a pint of blood in the back seat of my car in about a 15 minute drive, which all clotted so thoroughly that I could pick it up like a piece of liver.

Last edited by jtur88; 06-01-2013 at 03:43 PM..
  #37  
Old 06-01-2013, 04:42 PM
D18 D18 is offline
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First time I've seen a resurrected Opal thread since her death, and this had to be the topic. ::sigh::
  #38  
Old 06-01-2013, 04:55 PM
chorpler chorpler is online now
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This thread kind of threw me, when I saw the OP's name and the topic. Then I realized it must be a zombie, and sure enough, it was ... and even a double-zombie, at that.

Anyway, on the topic of the thread ...

When I had an appendectomy, I had undetected internal bleeding that dropped my blood pressure to 40/20 before they realized what was happening (the only nurse on duty was busy dealing with another patient in the next room over, a very elderly woman with advanced Alzheimer's who kept defecating in her bed, so I got kind of overlooked for a while). It wasn't painful at all, other than the pain from the surgery itself, which was fairly minimal at that point since it had been a quick laparoscopic appendectomy with only three tiny incisions and I was on a bit of morphine for post-surgical pain control anyway. Mainly, I just felt tired and lightheaded, and if I tried to sit up at all, I'd pass out and regain consciousness 15-20 seconds after falling back into a horizontal position.

I was very thirsty, but that could have been because of the aftereffects of the general anesthesia, I'm not sure. But I was pretty close to bleeding to death, and it wasn't painful.

Last edited by chorpler; 06-01-2013 at 04:57 PM.. Reason: Added the first paragraphs
  #39  
Old 06-01-2013, 05:26 PM
White SIFL White SIFL is offline
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Plus I don't think using your aol address would be very safe username
I don't understand this mentality.
  #40  
Old 06-01-2013, 05:46 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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Pain secondary to Bleeding

Whereas many people that bleed don't die if the loss is arrested in time, TBS
Internal bleeding can lead to pain.
I do not know the etiology, but I was in remarkable discomfort for a couple weeks if not more several years back when I had a bad stick when donating blood.
I was also on .81MG aspirin and taking a couple gel caps each day of Cod Liver Oil.
I was bruised from my elbow to my wrist and I do not ordinarily bruise at all when I donate.
My whole lower arm ached like a mild tooth ache.
But nothing like the pain i am in for the last month with a Meniscus tear.
  #41  
Old 06-01-2013, 09:01 PM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
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First time I've seen a resurrected Opal thread since her death, and this had to be the topic. ::sigh::
Yeah. There are so many ways one could go with this. But it's probably still too soon for some folks.
  #42  
Old 06-03-2013, 12:06 PM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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Like you, Mr. Ranger, who wasn't even a poster until after she died?
  #43  
Old 06-03-2013, 12:38 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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I dunno how those paramedics or doctors or nurses or anyone can withstand the horror of seeing that stuff (and worse) all the time
Personally I don't mind other people's blood at all - it's my own that upsets me.
  #44  
Old 06-03-2013, 01:07 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Reported for closure.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:11 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Since this thread was started over 13 years ago and is mostly anecdotal anyway, I'm going to close it.

Anyone who wishes to share experiences concerning blood loss can start a new thread in IMHO.

Colibri
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