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randy flagg
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Quote randy flagg Replybullet Topic: A stroke on my table?
    Posted: April/04/2011 at 11:32pm
This just happened 20 minuets ago and my hands are still a little shaky.
I just did a 10g 5/8 frenum piercing on a customer who just had his ear lobes done 8 weeks ago, so he's no stranger to my shop or piercings.
He just returned from spring break, a skiing trip in Colorado. His face was sun and wind burnt, very chapped and flaky.
He was anxious like any normal client. I did the piercing and immediately something went wrong.
His face locked up. The only way to describe it was like the Batman movie where the smilex gas caused peoples faces to get the permagrin. His speech was muffled because his mouth tightened up and then his arms and hands started to tingle like they were asleep. To top it off, his bottom eyelids started to flutter, and they got squinty. I could see his bottom eyelids pulsating.
My first impression was that he was having a stroke. But he was coherent and could walk around my room just fine. I held off on calling 911 because he started to feel more normal.
It took 15 minuets for his arms and hands to return to normal, he said it felt like a mushroom body buzz, no pain. Then his face started to relax. His mouth was still stuck in this weird kissy face and was relaxing. But his bottom eyelids were still pulsating lightly. Once that began to subside he felt much better.
Not once did he complain of pain, lose consciousness or feign consciousness. I am assuming anxiety attack plus dehydration.
I have had fainters (gold stars) plenty of times. I have customers go into seizures, had pukers, people urinate on themselves, someone shit their pants once, guys get hard-ons and pre jizz, and girls orgasm, but this was a first.
It freaked me out so much I even made a few phone calls to some fellow piercers while the guy was still on my table. I wasn't panicking or visibly shaken to my customer, but inside I was.
I would love to get your opinions on this, and what would you have done in my position.

Edited by randy flagg - April/05/2011 at 2:29am
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Quote Carrie_p2005 Replybullet Posted: April/05/2011 at 12:25pm
I think your assumption of panic attack was probably pretty correct.  From my understanding, a stroke would only affect one half of the body or the other, not both, but I could be wrong in that, there may be areas of the brain that cause the symptoms on both sides of the body.

From my own personal experiences with panic attacks, I can say for certain that panic attacks can cause tingling and numbness and twitching in the face.  When I get extremely nervous, my mouth twitches if I try to smile.  I haven't had them often, but I have had panic attacks so bad that my legs have gone completely numb to the point that I couldn't walk.

I think you did the right thing.  He wasn't showing the classic symptoms of a stroke (which are when symptoms occur on only 1 side of the body), and there was no confusion or loss of motor function.  You kept your cool, and kept close watch until he returned to normal.  Other than calling for an ambulance, which wasn't really necessary with everything you described, there wasn't much more you could do. 
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Quote randy flagg Replybullet Posted: April/05/2011 at 5:00pm
Thanks Carrie.

120 views so far and only one comment?

I can not be the only pro out of there that this has happened to.
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Quote steeldragon87 Replybullet Posted: April/05/2011 at 7:46pm
Never had those symptoms, though I've had folks go lights-out and twitch a bit. It's amazing some of the terrifying things we work around going to work... Way to keep cool.

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. - Hippocrates
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Quote mutumbo445 Replybullet Posted: May/11/2011 at 5:43pm
Im not  a piercer not artist by any means, but AM a critical care paramedic, so hopefully i can help (without getting into trouble posting here) with out being on scene myself to see exactly what you are talking about I cant tell you what was really happening, but I can tell you it was NOT a stroke. Carrie, strokes can and do affect both sides of the body, depending on where in the brain is affected. Now granted if they do affect both sides, usually the person is almost dead, or will be dead shortly.

You said that the patient was getting better within the first 10-15 minutes, that's good. Stroke symptoms do not resolve that quickly if ever with out treatment. During a stroke muscles do not tighten up like you described, there is weakness, and LACK of movement, not being stuck in any position, as you described.

Again I cant say what it was, but if I had to throw out a backyard guess over beers, id say it was some kind of atypical panic attack brought on by shock of the piercing, and as said dehydration probably didnt help much either.
I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death.
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Quote vampire311 Replybullet Posted: June/10/2011 at 9:50am

Definitely and Panic attack.

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Quote CRISTAL-DLN Replybullet Posted: June/16/2011 at 3:48pm
I had a similar experience with a client of mine. And it was after a simple, 16g helix piercing. I had him sitting up for the procedure, and everything went well for about 5 minutes. I noticed a dead stare in his eyes. Like a deer in the headlights look. Then all of a sudden, he starts sliding off the chair. I go and try to keep him pinned to the chair, and crank the backing down so he can lay back, and as I'm doing this, he starts to whimper. His eyes were wide open. I shit you not, I thought the motherfucker was attempting to trick me or something, but his eyes began to roll to the back of his head, and he went into full on convulsions and lost consciousness. I thought I had killed the guy! So I run and get the tattoo artist to keep him pinned to the chair and got an ammonia stick. He regained consciousness after that. Got him some soda and he was good, for maybe another 10 minutes, then back to square one. Long ass story short, I ended up driving the client home that night because I didnt want him passing out at the wheel, even though he kept insisting that he was fine. One of the scariest experiences I've gone through.
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