I didn’t have big plans Wednesday night. Finish watching Man vs. Food and then on to bed to read a sweet little novel about a bird artist in Newfoundland. I certainly didn’t expect to end up staying overnight in the Critical Care Unit of our local hospital. But my heart had other plans for me.
All of a sudden it felt like I was having an anxiety attack. My heart was racing and fluttering. However, this felt far worse than any panic attack I had ever felt. Boom boom boom. My heart kept pounding and pounding. It was really scary! Off we went to the emergency room. I was coughing and having trouble breathing at this point. David was my emergency room nurse. He liked to crack jokes. The same jokes over and over. Many about how HIS A-fib (which is what it was determined was going on with me…Artial Fibrillation) led to open heart surgery and a year and half off work. That’s really funny David. Thanks so much! They gave me medicine. Lots of medicine. My pulse was racing at 160. Which is NOT good. They brought my pulse down to around 100 but my heart refused to go into normal rythmn. It was stubborn and irregular. Sounds like the kind of heart I would have, right? Took lots of blood. Decided at 3am to admit me overnight and put me on a continuous drip so my heart would finally flip to normal. The other alternative was to shock my heart into behaving.
They wheel me down endless corridors and I am cracking jokes. Better to laugh than cry, is my motto. I think jokes at 3am gets a little old though. I heard one technician mutter to the other…oh…. she’s a joker. Hey, I could be moaning and whining. Deal with it. They wheel me into the CCU…the lights are low and the walls are painted a deep purple. It was like being transported into a Willy Wonka grape kool-aid testing station. Many indignities followed but Adam my CCU nurse was incredibly caring and thoughtful. The monitoring machine tested my blood pressure every 20 minutes in a valiant effort to make sure I didn’t have the audacity to fall asleep at any point. FINALLY, at 8:30 am my heart flipped back to normal. The cardiologist walked in at 8:33am. I told him that if he had just gotten there 6 hours earlier my heart would have not waited so long. 9 hours, folks. 9 hours of a fluttering heart. I had a heart-to-heart with the cardiologist (whah whah), they kept me there a few hours more to make sure my heart stayed normal……and finally released me. My day nurse, Sabine, gave me a hug.
So what does it all mean? My father tells me he has had A-fib since about my age. And he is 77 and very healthy. It was most likely stress related. I think it is a damn good excuse to start getting weekly hour-long massages. As a stress reliever, of course. I did get a chance to twitter from a hospital bed. Yay me! I know there is a message there in all this. Still trying to figure it out. I have been trying to eat healthy lately. Maybe it sent my heart into shock. Maybe I shouldn’t joke about it. Maybe I should. I feel pretty lucky. One of my friends is in the hospital after having a great deal of her innards removed from cancer. She has a long road ahead. My prayers tonight go out to Frances and her family. And a quick prayer of thanks for my own health.