vasovagal syncope

This past weekend Heather had a short fainting episode, brought on by a sharp intestinal pain. She's fine now. And she said she's fainted before when she experienced intense pain. It sounds like vasovagal syncope to me.

I think that's also the cause of my fainting episodes this past year. The first one caused me to fall and break my nose (and run up a large hospital bill). The second one was in a restaurant, but I didn't get hurt. When the ambulance came, I chose not to go to the hospital. Then I did some research and think I understand the cause (a vasovagal attack). Since then I've been able to recognize an attack coming on and avoid fainting. Some people are more prone to these than others (though most people experience it sometime in their life), but if care is taken there are no serious negative effects.

[Heather just said, "Maybe one day one of us will get to say to a doctor, 'Oh, that's just vasovagal syncope.'"]

This ailment seems like an appropriate one for me (and perhaps Heather, too). Because fainting is commonly seen as a sign of weakness. A perfect reminder, like Paul's:

A thorn was given me in the flesh... Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me,

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12.7-9)

And doesn't all illness offer us such a reminder, emphasizing our vulnerability and weakness, reminding us that we need to depend on God for our life? I don't believe illness is redemptive, or "a sharing in Christ's suffering," or some kind of martyrdom. Suffering illness is not the same as suffering for our faith. But illness can be a good reminder of our dependence on God and a way to grow in faith. And if we do that well, our endurance of illness can become a great witness to those around us as well.