Superfluous Matter
New Experiences

Well, my trip to Shanghai is already providing me with new experiences and I haven't even left yet. In addition to learning more than I ever wanted to know about the details of acquiring a visa for entry into China, I had an extra-special streetcar experience last week.

On Thursday I went to a travel clinic to get some vaccines so that I don't contract Hepatitis A or Typhoid while I'm in China. This required two separate needles. I've never had a problem with injections in the past, and although I've never had two at once before, everything went fine and I left the clinic in good spirits.

I had to take the streetcar to get home, so I boarded just outside the clinic and took a seat near the back. After about five minutes I started feeling hot and a little dizzy. It wasn't a big deal though so I just relaxed and waited for it to pass. Unfortunately that was when my brain checked out completely and I fainted, collapsing out of my seat and landing on my face on the floor of the streetcar.

Having your face on the floor of any public transit vehicle is never a good idea, a fact which my body seemed to know instinctively because I was pushing myself up and back into my seat before I even knew what was going on. Once seated I realized that something was very much not right because everyone was looking at me and asking if I was OK. Also, the driver had appeared and insisted on escorting me to the front of the streetcar so that he could keep an eye on me while calling in the incident and getting help if necessary. He was extremely patient and helpful, which was good because I was still a bit confused. I was pretty sure I had fainted but that didn't make sense because it's never happened to me before and it's just so weird. Anyway, I had started to feel much better and was able to convince the driver and his dispatcher of that fact. So I exchanged contact information with driver and the streetcar was able to continue its route. I got home with no further incident.

The other passengers on the streetcar were also very understanding, even offering me food in some cases. No one complained about the small delay and no one seemed angry. Nice to see that Toronto is still a friendly place.

So what happened? Apparently I suffered a vasovagal syncope brought on by a combination of the cramped, hard TTC seats and the double sticking I got at the travel clinic. It is apparently not uncommon for some people to faint when given needles or even when seeing someone get a needle. Although it has never happened to me before, I've never gotten two simultaneous injections before. Also, just before fainting, my brain was being a little silly and it wouldn't stop thinking about the injections I had just received. It kept playing them over in my mind and I kept trying to figure out where the stuff they inject goes when they inject it. I guess I thought about it too much.

Anyway, I'm totally fine now, other than a very small bruise on my forehead where it hit the ground and the nagging feeling that my face will never be quite as clean as it was before I smeared it across the floor of a streetcar.

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