Yes it is true. I used to be a wimp, and I remained one until quite a way through my medical training.
I have fainted twice in my life. The first was while at Christmas Midnight Mass 1979, when I was seventeen. On leaving the house to go there I caught my forefinger in the latch of the heavy closing door-OUCH! I hurried on, carrying my throbbing digit. Under the sodium street lights, my finger tip appeared to be covered in black grease, much to my bewilderment. I arrived in plenty of time to find a seat. That was when the throbbing became unbearable, and looking down in the little available light, I surveyed the mashed nail bed, and surrounding gore. Quite rapidly, my vision became monochrome, the world grew distant and I felt cold, sweaty and weak. I got to my feet and staggered towards the door, which in retrospect was foolish. The sacristan who was handing out hymn books saw how ghastly I looked and sat me down in the foyer with my head between my knees. The faintness eventually passed, and after recovering I was able to re-enter the chapel and hear Mass.
The second time occurred when I was what I thought a well seasoned medical student. I had been tasked to observe major dental surgery in an operating theatre under general anaesthesia. Cool, I thought, awesome! The patient was wheeled in. She was a dazzlingly pretty girl of my own age, or thereabouts, but very nervous and tight-lipped. She was anaesthetised and put on the operating table. The dental surgeon opened her mouth to begin work, and that was when I saw. Her every tooth was blackened and misshapen with decay. The operation was to remove every tooth from her mouth, in preparation for dentures. She was only 22!
The teeth were pulled mercilessly and dropped in the metal kidney dish with a clang each time. The surgeon’s progress was inexorable and without emotion. The room felt sweaty and airless. The operating theatre smells came to the fore in my sensorium.
Yep, the blood started to drain from my brain, and I knew I had to get horizontal fast. I recovered after a shameful while, but I will never forget that scene. To this day, I relate this tale to medical students who faint in the operating theatre and feel ashamed.
I have never fainted since. Those experiences have immunized me, I suppose. A patient’s relative once told me that I must have a heart of stone to not be moved to tears by some tense clinical situation we had been involved in together. I hope that is not the case, and that my heart is more living wood than dead stone.
The softer but still firm wood is far better at receiving the nails, and the blood, and the very Saviour Of All Mankind into itself.
We followers of Christ must not be afraid of innocently spilt blood, even our own.
Our mission plan is written in His, after all.