Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Swooning is a physical sensation often brought on by a profound feeling of adoration.  It is experienced as a sort of electrical charge traveling from the chest downward, sometimes all the way to one's toes.  It is usually followed immediately by a sigh and a relaxation of the muscles accompanied by a heady giddiness.  To swoon is often amorous in connotation, but it can also mean to experience generic symptoms of light-headedness, dizziness and, or fainting.
This more debilitating swoon is known as a vasovagal attack.  A vasovagal attack is a condition involving slowing of the heart, reduced blood pressure and reduced blood circulation to the head which reduces the oxygen supply to the brain and can lead to fainting or convulsions. The condition is brought on by over-activity of the vagus nerve, a remarkable nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), lungs, heart, esophagus, and the intestinal tract as far as the transverse portion of the colon. The vagus nerve also brings sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, throat, and larynx.
The condition is more common in females than males and is often associated with conditions such as lack of sleep, illnesses involving fevers and excessive fasting.
Of course these things are related -- we experience many sensations in the organs and body parts listed above when we love.  It makes sense that as the tenth cranial nerve, the vagus nerve transmits mucho informaccion from our heads downward.  In a new love affair there is little sleep to be had, falling in love is often associated with fevers and one rarely has an appetite when in the throes of early courtship's passions.  These symptoms are also common for parents of newborns.  There are other objects of beauty, both in the natural world and things manufactured, that make one weak in the knees.
I wanted to give the physical sensations of appreciative adoration a little thought tonight, because I've been swooning all the goddamn time lately.  I'm finding Fellini all over the bloody place – life is freaking grand.

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