Stand Up Straight and Other Bad Advice

Security Guard Richard Schroeder, 2017

Richard Schroeder makes the best ever Security Guard for the 6×6 Art Auction at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  He is a natural.  He stands motionless for hours at a time.  He remains expressionless.  His mirrored dark glasses look… well, ominous.  And, this year, the handcuffs dangling at his waist cause most of the riff-raff to keep their distance.

In fact, when Richard toppled over the other night while on duty, not a single riff or raff took advantage of the situation.  No one stormed the art-filled cases.  No one snuck along on tippy-toe silently taking artwork off the silent auction tables.  In fact, a respectful hush fell over the crowd.  Richard the Indomitable had collapsed.  Whatever had happened?

I messaged his wife Dian the next morning to see how he was doing.  Her response: “Sydney and Nyel – thank you for your concern.  He’s ok, heck of a goose egg & probably two black eyes, about a 2 inch cut on his head.  No stitches, they just closed the laceration with surgical glue.  He basically fainted… vasovagal syncope … drop in blood pressure, dehydration, no food & standing too long without movement.  All tests were negative re: any other damage but we’ll be checking in with our primary physician tomorrow.”

The Presbyterian Choir with The Singing Saints, 2007

Whew!  And click, click, click.  It all fell into place, just like that.  Vasovagal syncope is something we warn school kids about – or at least we used to back when I was teaching.  With little kids we usually didn’t use the “vasovagal syncope” words.  We just said something like “Don’t let your knees lock. Keep them a little bit bent.”  Those words weren’t heard often – mostly just before a class was to go on stage and stand on the bleachers through a few songs at the Christmas program or the Spring Sing.

I can’t remember if we’d warn them that they might faint if they forgot and stiffened their legs.  It was all an oversimplification, anyway, but in the 39 years of school programs I attended, we never had a kid go down.  I wish someone has given Richard a little pre-performance pep talk.  It was usually the music teacher who did it at Ocean Park and Long Beach Schools.

Richard and Betsy – Before the Fall

According to one online site:
Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope. The vasovagal syncope trigger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, causing you to briefly lose consciousness. Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless and requires no treatment. But it’s possible you may injure yourself during a vasovagal syncope episode. Your doctor may recommend tests to rule out more serious causes of fainting, such as heart disorders.

The Well-Guarded Culprits

Before you faint due to vasovagal syncope, you may experience some of the following:
     Pale skin
     Lightheadedness
     Tunnel vision — your field of vision narrows so that you see only what’s in front of you
     Nausea
     Feeling warm
     A cold, clammy sweat
     Yawning
     Blurred vision
During a vasovagal syncope episode, bystanders may notice:
     Jerky, abnormal movements
     A slow, weak pulse
     Dilated pupils
Recovery after a vasovagal episode generally begins in less than a minute. However, if you stand up too soon after fainting — within about 15 to 30 minutes — you’re at risk of fainting again.

UPDATE FROM DIAN:  ” … turns out he did have a concussion. Now dealing with post concussion symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, nausea etc.”

We are so sorry.  Next year:  a Security Guard for the Security Guard?

 

4 Responses to “Stand Up Straight and Other Bad Advice”

  1. Dian Schroeder says:

    Thank you Sydney for letting people know about vasovagal syncope. Richard is feeling better today, in fact he’s feeling good enough to argue with me about what he should and should not be doing. He’s “promised to be good” today if I go in to the museum (I’m taking his car keys with me and having the neighbors check on him, they love him enough to rat him out if he cheats).

    Our thanks to you and all those who have texted, emailed, messaged and phoned asking about him and thank you to Dr Weaver and the nurses who were at the auction and Johnny on the spot when he went down. We love this community ???

  2. Dian Schroeder says:

    We do not question our love for this community …..apparently when you put ‘hearts’ in your response, you get questions marks. :-)

  3. sandy stonebreaker says:

    As you know Sydney, it is called Parade Rest in terms of knees slightly bent and deep breathing. That is what the military units who do parades are taught.
    Add that it was probably pretty warms as well as Mr. Schroeder standing like that for so long.
    The VIP room, while needed, wasn’t ideal. Maybe because the group with the high roller seemed to only want to talk most of the time. But, hey, he spent a lot of money.

  4. Poor Richard. He looked so official and somewhat ominous. Bill and I hope he recovers from his goose egg and send love and concern to Richard and Dian. As my Russian ballet teacher used to say, “A slight bed of zee knees!”

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