Friday, January 24, 2014

I Must Be in Love, My Heart's All Aflutter

I am sorry I missed last night with the blog. I was admitted to the hospital with Atrial Fibrillation, a heart condition where the heart beats very fast and irregularly. Many people have it and don’t know. I know every time though, when it feels as though my heart is going to beat out of my chest. I had not had an episode of A-fib, as it’s called, for the past 2 years, and I was only in the hospital overnight this time when my heart “converted,” or went back to normal rhythm. I must give my cardiologist props for making my heart behave. It wasn’t always this easy to get under control.

The cause of my A-fib is unknown, but my Mom has it, and in me it seems to be stress-related. Vic and I joke that he makes my heart go all aflutter, and he IS the love of my life, but this is no joke. I had been under so much stress at school and didn’t realize the toll it was taking on my body. It manifested itself with my irregular heartbeat five times in the last 2 years I taught. These last two years without an incident were proof of the stress connection. I have been retired for almost 2 years and without an A-fib incident.

Indeed, the last time I was admitted for A-fib, it was frustrating and a bit disconcerting, as they had to shock me with paddles in order to get the heart back to regular rhythm. I had been going into A-fib with increasing frequency and decreasing intervals for a year when I ran up against the wall, so-to-speak. Although I had faithfully taken my medications (except when the mail-order pharmacy didn’t mail them), My heart just would not convert. We waited 2 days longer than usual and finally I went under the “paddles.” I was not awake at the time and it was obviously successful, but I was very tired, a bit confused and my chest hurt afterwards. I do not want to go through that again.

There was a long conversation with a consulting electro-cardiologist before the procedure. He explained all the risks and benefits associated with this method of bring the rhythm back. And pretty much told me it was the last non-surgical option left to me. The procedure could make the heart beat more wildly or it might stop the heart all together, neither being the wanted outcome. Then again, it might stop the heart from beating wildly and prod it into going back to normal. The whole thing took less than an hour and a half with all the preparations, and did what it was supposed to. I came out of it in perfect rhythm.

Some of my meds were changed after that and I was not discharged until they were sure I would not undergo adverse reactions to one of the drugs. I was concerned about one of the drugs, as whenever a medical professional heard that I was taking it twice a day, their reaction was usually an ominous. “Oh? Wow.”

But I needn’t have worried, as it’s kept me out of the hospital until now. It was reassuring this time, whenever I mentioned my cardiologist, the medical professional in front of me said something akin to, “Oh! He’s really good.”

I was angry and frustrated at having to be admitted this time, because I figured I had it beat after two years. But I was relieved at the same time, that everything resolved itself without intervention. Thanks to all the doctors, nurses, techs, and the lovely lady who delivered my breakfast this morning. And of course to my hubby who takes such good care of me, and my family and friends who wished me well in phone calls, text messages and on Facebook.

I intend to be around for a long time to come. You can’t get rid of me that easily!

Still learning!

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