Fainting
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#1: Fainting Author: PadoLocation: Connecticut, USA PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:46 pm
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There seems to be a remarkable amount of fainting that occurs at the Chalet School, especially in the Tirol years. No one of my acquaintance sinks gracefully into a swoon at the receipt of bad news, but perhaps I'm just not mingling with the right crowd.

Am I correct in assuming this is just EBD imitating the worst of the Victorians? Or have I confused fainting with symptoms of spineless jellyfishism?

#2:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:55 am
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I think it's just EBD being Victorian - maybe she thought it showed that they were elegant young ladies! Although it was understandable that Victorian women in tightly-laced corsets might faint - I don't know why the CS girls would, unless they were ill Rolling Eyes .

#3:  Author: Kathy_SLocation: midwestern US PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:17 pm
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I don't know. It must have been common enough that first aid for fainting was one of the first things taught in Girl Scouts, right after triangular bandages. It came in very handy once I made the link between "seeing yellow spots means you are going to faint" and what to do about it.

#4:  Author: claireLocation: South Wales PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:30 pm
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Maybe happens more at altitiudes.
Plus I faint quite easy when pregnant, Joey is pregnant a lot

#5:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:59 pm
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She often faints while she is at school. I think it's EBD being victorian and old-fashioned, and harking back to the days when girls wore tight-laced corsets.

#6:  Author: ClareLocation: Liverpool PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:53 pm
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In some respects it's a plot device. For Joey, it highlights her delicate nature, and the fact she 'feels so intensely'. For others, it is the first step of remorse for doing something bad. I'm thinking about Corney - does she faint after she's hauled out of the cave in Exploits?

#7:  Author: TiffanyLocation: Is this a duck I see behind me? PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:10 pm
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Maybe they WERE wearing corsets, and that's why they appear so slim despite all the cream cakes Smile

I think it's meant to show strength of feeling - someone was so happy / sad / shocked / etc that they had an obvious physical reaction. It's a convenient shorthand, perhaps, that saves the author having to explain that someone was highly strung (what does highly strung really mean?) or delicate or undergoing great emotional stress.

#8:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:23 pm
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I always thought that highly strung meant nervy and easily upset. I think that after Jo's prolonged stupor after rescuing Grizel, EBD chose to make her seem highly strung, whereas she was apparently in good health for many years, outgrew her delicacy and was fit and well enough to have eleven children.

#9:  Author: PadoLocation: Connecticut, USA PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:15 am
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Corney (understandably, perhaps) faints at learning of Mlle LePattre's death, which is what set me off. I've been doing a reread of the early books, and it seems as if someone is always about to faint at a critical moment...

#10:  Author: champagnedrinker PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:39 am
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I weekly boarded at a convent - and we had to go to Mass before breakfast. Every now and again, someone would faint during Mass - once you had, you got a cup of tea/ a biscuit brought to you in your cubicle before Mass! I guess the nuns thought that fainting was more distracting to the rest of the congregation than having food less than an before communion was offending to God (or some such theory!)
I always wondered if anyone managed to faint on purpose to get the tea & biscuits...

#11:  Author: TiffanyLocation: Is this a duck I see behind me? PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:23 pm
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Jennie wrote:
I always thought that highly strung meant nervy and easily upset. I think that after Jo's prolonged stupor after rescuing Grizel, EBD chose to make her seem highly strung, whereas she was apparently in good health for many years, outgrew her delicacy and was fit and well enough to have eleven children.


Yes, that's what I thought, but I've just seen Ros Lilley described as highly strung (after she's had her tooth out on a school trip). Elsewhere she is a very sensible, down-to-earth, unemotional type.

#12:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:25 pm
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I think EBD didn't really know the meaning of it, and just put it in to make someone seem in need of a rest and a bit of cossetting.

#13:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:42 pm
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The dictionary reports 'highly-strung' as sensitive or nervous. After having a tooth out I'd think that a reasonable thing to be.

#14:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:47 pm
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Isn't it astonishing that with all the emphasis on health and healthcare, so many girls need to have a tooth taken out as an emergency?

#15:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:55 pm
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It was all those cream cakes! Wink

#16:  Author: CatyLocation: New Zealand PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:26 pm
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I always scoffed at all the 'going white & fainting' in the CS when someone was injured. It seemed so unrealistic until I tore a ligament in my foot, whilst playing football and then I realised how true it was!

Is fainting at bad news and/or shocks plausible? I'm not sure.

#17:  Author: TaraLocation: Malvern, Worcestershire PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:36 pm
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I tnink it can be, but, more relevantly, I'm sure it was the way women were supposed to behave.
My Mum(aged 89) will still recount traumatic incidents with the comment, 'But I didn't have hysterics'. She is as tough as old boots, and copes competently and courageously with anything life hurls at her, there's no one in the world less likely to have hysterics, but she's sure that's how she ought to feel. Very similar cultural roots, I think.

#18:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:56 am
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A big shock can have physical effects that vary by person - I get a massive adreneline kick at bad news (good news too, but not as extreme), so if someone is prone to going shocky then they might go white and need to sit down for a minute - the feeling faint response. I know other people who will tend to be hysterical under identical circumstances.

I could think of a few physical conditions that could make fainting more likely - PMS/period, anaemia, low blood sugar.

I see highly strung as someone who tends to react strongly emotionally and has little control over their display of emotion. They get scared easily, upset easily, excited easily and are hard to calm down when they do - they tend to get worked up. Joey definitely fits that category. After she's about 16 she isn't at all delicate when it comes to *physical* ailments - aside from her displaced organ and resting before and after childbirth she never actually has a physically caused illness after her bout in Rivals. When she is ill, it's always emotionally based - she's over worked, over excited, griefstricken etc.

I like the character Agnes Nitt in the Discworld books. She's the fat, smart girl whose fate it is to be the one who has a cool head in emergencies and gets things done in emergencies when the prettier girls are being comforted.

#19:  Author: KateLocation: Ireland PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:16 pm
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I tend to faint quite easily. Usually it's due to my blood sugar dropping though, especially in hot weather. I don't know if I faint due to shock... but I have on occasion been physically ill in times of strain, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility.

#20:  Author: Liseke PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:46 pm
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I put it down to teenage hormones and the altitude. Both perfectly plausible, even if the word teenager isn't really accurate for Tyrol.

#21:  Author: AlexLocation: Cambs, UK PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:41 pm
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My blood pressure goes through the floor quite often for many reasons and no apparent reason, so I suppose I've never found it terribly suprising when other people fall on the floor. I've never done it for emotional reasons though.

#22:  Author: PadoLocation: Connecticut, USA PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:45 am
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I used to work as a photographer's assistant, and every year, at least one girl would faint as we took the group high school graduation photo (with caps and gowns on in the hot summer sun).

And usually, that girl would experience the joys of motherhood before Christmas......bunny anyone? Twisted Evil

#23:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:54 am
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Liseke wrote:
I put it down to teenage hormones and the altitude. Both perfectly plausible, even if the word teenager isn't really accurate for Tyrol.


I can buy that - although I think the highly strung argument is important, too, and someone fainting is an easy way for EBD to convey the gravity of the particular situation - as I went through a phase of fainting in my mid teens. Never done it before or since, but there were a couple of years there where I was always keeling over, or at least feeling faint / dizzy.

I wonder how many of EBD's episode of fainting actually involve full unconsciousness and how many are more of a swoon / need to sit down / emotional collapse situation, without actual unconsciousness.

#24:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:18 pm
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I faint if I stand for too long in a stuffy room, and used to faint if I got up suddenly. Several girls at school, over the years, were known to be "easy fainters"; once any serious cause had been ruled out, they used to just be sent out for a breath of air when it happened, and otherwise ignored.

#25:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:16 pm
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There is a medical condition - 'postural hypotension' - that can cause a person to faint if they stand up too quickly or move from lying down to sitting or standing too fast. Basically it's that the blood pressure, initially, isn't high enough to pump blood to the brain and the body faints.

Also if someone is standing still for too long this can happen as part of the circulation includes the muscles of the legs squeezing blood back from the feet. Soldiers on guard duty or at attention for too long can faint and are all warned to continually keep flexing the muscles in their calves and thighs to prevent it.

#26:  Author: MirandaLocation: Perth, Western Australia PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:08 am
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I fainted at an Anzac Day dawn service when I was younger and I think that was the reason for it - I'd been standing absolutely still and it was freezing! (Pre-dawn in my guide uniform, no jumper). So I just fell straight forward, grazing my hands and face. My friends picked me up, said 'are you ok?' and let go of me so I fell straight back down again.

I'll have to remember the calf-flexing trick in future...

#27:  Author: HanLocation: Wondering what to do with herself PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:01 am
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I always used to faint on the first day of my period, although now I know to expect it so can generally stop myself dropping completely. I once fainted into a bush in Germany. Some girls from my school were at the end of the path and saw me get up but decided not to come and see if I was ok because they thought I must have been 'with' someone!

#28:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:23 am
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I keeled over once, but that was during a bad case of the flu. I had gotten up to go to the bathroom, and on my way back my vision stared to grey over and I managed to aim myself at the bed. Once I was horizontal, I regained consciousness, but still felt pretty terrible.

#29:  Author: LizzieLocation: A little village on the Essex/Suffolk border PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:59 pm
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The only time I have ever fainted was at hospital, when I'd just had some teeth out, and was determined not to have to spend the night there. I got up to go to the bathroom mainly to show the nurse that I was fine, fine, fine and could go home, but unfortunately shut my hand in the bathroom door on my way out and came to on the floor. Serves me right, I suppose...

#30:  Author: TanLocation: London via Newcastle Australia PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:29 pm
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My dad was in the RAAF. Apparently on warm days it was not uncommon for people to pass out (men, of course, don't faint!) Basically if they saw someone about to keel over they were taught to push them backwards (more likely to be caught by someone, less likely to hurt themselves or fall in the way than if they fell forward).

#31:  Author: AnaLocation: Manchester (term-time), Cumbria (hols) PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:47 pm
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I remember being told during my time in my school's CCF that a good way to induce fainting was to put blotting paper in your boots before you went on parade.

Never tried it though... the guy who told me that was one of the officers, so would have seen through it in a flash if I'd tried Laughing

#32:  Author: Lisa_TLocation: Belfast PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:12 pm
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I never found the fainting startling. I've fainted easily my entire life- usually in response to a relatively minor knock. I once fainted on the train when I momentarily trapped a nerve in my hand when closing my purse. I've also been known to faint when having to stand- even with doing the exercises Lesley mentioned. I've also been known to turn very white and shaky and near fainty when shocked... so none of the fainting in the CS startled me much, really.

#33:  Author: TamzinLocation: Edinburgh PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:56 pm
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My mum has always fainted easily. Even as a schoolgirl she would regularly faint during morning assembly at school though I think that having no breakfast and then standing for ages had something to do with that. She has low blood pressure too which doesn't help. She once fainted in a shop when I was there. We had wandered away from each other and when I saw the huddled shape lying on the ground I felt callously disinterested at first. Then when I realised it was her my heart nearly stopped - it was horrible.

I've never fainted but came close twice. Once on a very crowded, stuffy Monday morning communter train from Dunfermline to Edinburgh - i was returning to uni after a weekend at home. I'd had no breakfast as I couldn't eat it then. I suddenly felt as though all my blood was draining out of my feet and really nauseated. I only stayed on my feet because all the other people were pressed against me and holding me up. i can remember them looking at me strangely so I must have looked terrible. luckily the train pulled into a station and someone got up from their seat and I kind of slid down into it just in time. that was enough to stop me fainting.

Another time I was again at my parents house. My period had just come and I'd taken an aspirin for the pain. I felt everything fading away and the horrible sick feeling but was startled by my Mum's voice yelling at me to get away from the stairs because I was standing right at the top of the stairs and she was at the bottom. I managed to lie down on the floor before anything happened and so once again averted the faint. I really hope I never do faint properly because it feels dreadful.

Gosh I am rambling today. The point is that there's always been some physical trigger for the near-faints in my case whether it's pain or stuffiness or taking a painkiller that irritates the stomach. I don't think that just bad news would do it but you never know.

#34:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:47 am
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La di la. Procrastinating again. Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to document exactly how many times people lose consciousness in the series:

School at
Grizel on the Tiernjoch
Madge after the train crash

Jo of
Joey during the skating accident

Rivals
Maureen and Jo in the icy lake
Madge after Jo's recovery

Eustacia
Bill after injuring her foot

and Jo
Jo after the Passion Play

Exploits
Cornelia after falling into the crack in the earth

New House
Margot Venables after getting to Nurse Rickards
Jo after seeing Alixe von Elsen sleepwalking

New
Madge after Sybil's kidnapping
Maria Balbini after learning about her mother

Exile
Jo (sort of) after learning that Robin is safe
Cornelia after learning of Mademoiselle's death
Gertrude after her rescue

Highland Twins
Joanna Linders from hunger
Elisaveta from exhaustion
Rosalie after her 'bad fright'
Betty after being confronted with the burglar

Lavender
Lavender in the snow

Rosalie
Rosalie Way from doing too much on an empty stomach

Island
Annis Lovell after getting to safety

Wrong
Nita after breaking her arm
Anthea Barnett in church

Does It Again
Sally Denny with flu
Margot in the water

Kenya
Emerence after going over the cliff

(Not including the incident in Mary Lou, as OOAO was knocked unconscious rather than fainting. The same goes for Betty Landon in Triplets and other similar incidents. )

New Mistress
Miss Bertram from illness

Coming of Age
Miss Bubb from hunger

Joey and Co
Jo after seeing Mike on the precipice

Ruey Richardson
Ruey after injuring her thumb

Leader
Miss Bertram from illness and shock

Reunion
Grizel after saving Len

Jane
Jack Lambert after being rescued from the tree

Redheads
Copper after Len hurts her broken collar bone

Summer Term
Erica after her injured ankle is hurt more (twice)

So most of them seem to be due to illness or injury. Can anyone think of others?

#35:  Author: Lisa_TLocation: Belfast PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:09 am
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Crumpets! That's a lot of faints!
*can't think of anything else since KB, as always has been thorough*

Quote:
I really hope I never do faint properly because it feels dreadful.


This may sound rather bizarre, but as long as it's practical, in that situation it can be better to faint and get it over with. You will recover faster.

I once had a bad bout of period pain, and spent an hour /hour and a half not quite fainting but not quite conscious either- and I felt so ill for several hours afterwards, even when painkiller finally kicked in. A year or so later I had the same pain again- but this time actually *did* lose consciousness for a few seconds. I felt weak, but otherwise fine pretty much as soon as I'd come round.

And it always seems to me that the pain or discomfort is less intense after you've fainted. If you weren't in pain to start with, you'll just feel a little shakey- hot sweet tea usually helps. Much nicer than that horrible nauseous will I-won't I..*shudders*

Maybe you should try it sometime. Very Happy Interesting things can happen when you're out. Like thinking you're in Paris during the Terror. Now that's disconcerting to come around from... Shocked

#36:  Author: MelLocation: UP NORTH PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:48 am
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Could I add another faint? Doesn't Jo faint in 'Camp' after seeing the artist's model?

#37:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:12 pm
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Yeah I think she does. There's also a mention in one of the books that someone fainted after 'working like a beaver at her cello' before breakfast. After that morning practise is moved to after breakfast.

Given the number of books in the series I don't think there is too much fainting - the only one who faints excessively is Jo, and that's 'part of her makeup'. Girls fainted quite a lot when I was at school (which was only three and a bit years ago), so I've never found it surprising. People have been known to faint at work too, and people are always fainting in books of the period IIRC.

In ER recently, a woman collapsed after being told her husband had died with 'Broken Heart Syndrome'. In the episode her heart actually stopped beating and she nearly died. Compared to that fainting doesn't seem too extreme!

I think I sort of fainted once (for about half a second). I was ten and had been standing for ages in a hot room, surrounded by other kids (it was a school choir rehearsal). I fell over and the girls either side of me picked me up and made a huge fuss but I managed to persuade them not to tell the teacher (I was embarrassed). After that I was fine.

#38:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:48 pm
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I did consider putting the Jo at Camp part it, but it wasn't 100% clear to me that she really fainted (as opposed to just collapsing a bit).

The thing about someone fainting after working at their cello is described in New, but happens the previous term (not written by EBD) which is why I left it off the list.

#39:  Author: Lisa_TLocation: Belfast PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:37 am
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And that was from lack of food. I think there was another mention of something similar in the Swiss years?

#40:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:52 am
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There is an occasion of someone 'turning faint' on the stairs, but again I wasn't 100% sure that meant a total loss of consciousness.

#41:  Author: LollyLocation: Melbourne PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:03 am
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Ana wrote:
I remember being told during my time in my school's CCF that a good way to induce fainting was to put blotting paper in your boots before you went on parade.

Never tried it though... the guy who told me that was one of the officers, so would have seen through it in a flash if I'd tried Laughing


this was popular at my school for long boring communion services. You were supposed to prick your heels first so the blotting paper would suck your blood out (we hadn't done much biology by then!). It never worked and I'm amazed that none of us got blood poisoning from sticking drawing pins in our feet. Clearly we were a lot healthier than the chalet girls, even without all that 'healthy' milk...(we used to pour it out of the windows...if the wind blew in the wrong direction the classrooms would smell very faintly of old cheese!)

#42:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:29 am
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Wasn't that poor Miss Bertram again? One of the prees caught her, I think.

#43:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:06 pm
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KB wrote:
I did consider putting the Jo at Camp part it, but it wasn't 100% clear to me that she really fainted (as opposed to just collapsing a bit).


I thought she threw up, rather than fainting, at that one?

#44:  Author: ChrisLocation: Nottingham PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:13 pm
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My husband went white as a sheet and shaky when told over the phone that the apparently completely healthy daughter of a close friend of ours had died suddenly in the night. I've never seen that happen to him since and he doesn't suffer from faintness as a rule, but I thought he was going to then. And emotional trauma can easily make your legs feel weak and you get a sudden urge to sit down, so maybe 'fainting' at bad news etc is just a more severe reaction.

#45:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:27 pm
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Mrs Redboots wrote:
KB wrote:
I did consider putting the Jo at Camp part it, but it wasn't 100% clear to me that she really fainted (as opposed to just collapsing a bit).


I thought she threw up, rather than fainting, at that one?


This was the reference I had in mind:

Quote:
Even Miss Stewart, who was holding Jo (who had collapsed limply as soon as she was moved, and looked more dead than alive)


But she may throw up, with this quote:

Quote:
A fresh spasm of sickness overtook her at this moment, but when it was over she repeated her words.

#46:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:29 pm
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I love how in the CS no-one 'throws up' or 'vomits'. They're just 'sick' or (in extreme cases) 'very sick'.

#47:  Author: RayLocation: Bristol, England PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:38 pm
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I think that's partially because vomit was probably considered vulgar and graphic and "throw up" is (I think - does anyone have an OED to check entemology?) a relatively modern phrase - and actually thinking about it for myself, I tend to say that I've been sick rather than I've thrown up.

Ray *oddly old fashioned!*

#48:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:27 pm
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So would I actually - or else say throw up. But in EBD sometimes it's confusing whether people are being physically sick or are just 'sick' - ie ill.

#49:  Author: KateLocation: Ireland PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:34 pm
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Ray wrote:
I think that's partially because vomit was probably considered vulgar and graphic and "throw up" is (I think - does anyone have an OED to check entemology?) a relatively modern phrase - and actually thinking about it for myself, I tend to say that I've been sick rather than I've thrown up.

So do I, unless the other person isn't understanding what I mean. I hate the phrase "throw up" though... eww. And vomit is worse.

#50:  Author: Kathy_SLocation: midwestern US PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:00 pm
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"To have an upset stomach" is the euphemism I was brought up with. "Throw up" was discouraged as crude, and "sick" = "ill" in the generic sense.

#51:  Author: TaraLocation: Malvern, Worcestershire PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:24 pm
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But 'a spasm of sickness' is fairly expicit. I always assumed it meant she was literally being sick, though it sounds as if she's half passing out as well.

#52:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:47 pm
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I grew up saying that I was ill (or, more probably, unwell), but that I had been sick. For me "to be sick" meaning to be unwell, and "to be ill" meaning to be sick, is American.

#53:  Author: Kathy_SLocation: midwestern US PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:58 pm
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I think that in American, neither sick nor ill is specific enough to mean one has a tummy bug/upset stomach (depending on age) or is nauseous. You'd have to narrow it down to being "sick in your stomach." Probably the most effective way to get the message across would be to put your hand over your mouth and leave the room....

There are, of course, a range of terms that are used but discouraged by parents and teachers.



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