Thursday, December 02, 2010

It was a pretty good movie other than that

It doesn't look like a horror movie, does it.

Many years ago, I went on a date to see Lorenzo's Oil, a movie about a little boy with a degenerative neurological disease. About twenty minutes into the movie, watching Lorenzo's health deteriorate, I began to feel very hot and ill. I excused myself and went to the lobby and standing in front of the counter of popcorn and Junior Mints, passed out. When I came to, I had no idea where I was. Eventually, with the help of the concessions clerk, I figured it out and all was well, though I never saw the end of that movie.

Eighteen years passed. No more vapors. I'm just not the fainting kind. 

Last night, I decided I'd go see Love and Other Drugs at the theatre in Jackson, Wyoming. The story, briefly, is this: pretty Jake Gyllenhaal and pretty Anne Hathaway fall in love, but Hathaway has Parkinson's disease which complicates their romance. About an hour into the movie, watching Anne Hathaway's health deteriorate (very decorously, I might add) I began to feel hot and ill. Then unbearably hot and ill. I thought, I have got to get out of here NOW. But as I walked up the aisle,  I passed out. The next thing I knew I was flat on my back with all these people standing over me in this big dark room with lots of chairs. I had no idea where I was. That was the weirdest part. 

They had called the EMTs and cops and everyone was very kind, but ouf, how embarrassing trying to explain what happened, which is that I can not sit through cinematic depictions of neurological disease without having a panic attack. I'm unfazed by so many "difficult" things -- killing poultry, dead rats, blood, 127 Hours -- but tell a Hollywood actor to fake a tremor and I'm out like a light.

Nothing to do with food, but bizarre enough to share. Do others have mysterious psychological quirks like this? You must!


  1. Very interesting. I pass out whenever I get a shot or blood drawn, though that's not too surprising. Actually, after the first 2 times, I learned to sit down and put my head between my legs for 10 minutes until I feel stable enough to leave. Otherwise, I'd be out like a light.

  2. that is a little scary. did they stop the movie? please come home now. between that and the snow driving scene you described i want this trip to be over.

  3. I once used my recent viewing of Lorenzo's Oil as an excuse to get out of jury duty. It was a medical malpractice case and I said the movie had me believing that conventional doctors were quacks.
    I still sorta feel bad about that.
    As for fainting, I only faint when my corset it too tight.

  4. You're not sqeamish in general? Have you seen 127 Hours? My husband really wants to see it, but I'm nervous to!

  5. Animals in peril...although I don't faint, I do get very agitated and emotional, and usually have to leave the theater or room or wherever. It's kind of bizarre. I had no trouble slicing and dicing froggy or porky or anything various biology teachers put in front of me, kill bugs with the greatest of ease, dispose of rodents, dead or alive, cleaned fish with my grandpa, etc. But put Benji in a burning building and I very completely freak out.

  6. Yes! I see sharks in any body of water I'm in : acctually *see* them coming at me. I don't pass out (lucky, or I'd probably drown), just have a good, old-fashioned panic attack. Whenever I tell people I don't want to go in the pool because of the sharks and I get The Look, I say with a very practiced air of dignity, "yes, I'm *aware.* That's what makes it an irrational fear: it's irrational!"

  7. Georgia Jewel12/4/10, 4:11 AM

    I'm glad you're okay...Please be safe!

  8. This has happened to me also, sort of. The difference is I've never actually fainted. The first time was the most humiliating. It was my junior year in high school and everyone who had signed up for drivers ed had to watch one of those films full of gruesome accidents that happen to people who drink and drive or who are just total idiots and crash head-on into semis. Anyway, there was this scene where a woman was thrown from a car (it was all fake and I knew it, but still). It was something about the way she moaned while lying bloodied in a ditch that did it. I broke into a cold sweat and it started going all gray. I had to get up and walk out of an auditorium filled with a hundred classmates who all probably thought that I was wussing out. I went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face and I was OK after that.

    The few times it happened after that have also been in response to characters suffering on screen, which I guess what you were also reacting to. I've never really sat down and analyzed it. I just assumed it was an instance of identifying too closely with whoever was in pain. Empathy out of bounds?

  9. oh my god! I knew I didn't like that movie for a good reason. So, the EMTs said you were okay????