Yesterday afternoon my heart started palpitating – beating really really fast. This is something that’s happened ten or so times since I was a teenager. Usually it hasn’t lasted more than a minute or two. And I’m pretty sure the last one was more than two years ago. I just sat down and had a sip of ice water and off it went.
Every primary care physician I’ve ever mentioned it to has said something like “That’s interesting. We can’t really do anything about it unless we catch it with a 12 lead EKG.” I write software, so I get that. If you don’t see the problem it’s pretty hard to guess what’s going on.
I’m not getting any younger, and it’s generally better to figure this stuff out sooner than later. We live in a small town and I figured good odds an ambulance would get here before it stopped.
So I dialed 911, called Ellyn to let her know, locked up the house, and waited on the tailgate of our pickup parked in the street. Up comes the firetruck and they bust out the EKG, hook me up, and start printing tape. Mission accomplished. They clocked me at about 240BMP “undetermined regular rhythm.”
Then the ambulance showed up and they loaded me up. I asked for “French, please” – the hospital that Ellyn works at, and off we went. They gave me something to ‘reset my heart’, and that bumped it down to 110ish – still high, but way better than 240.
They dropped me off in the ER and they did labs and more hookups. The labs came back negative for everything that you want to be negative, so that was good. The recently hired rockstar Cardiac Electrophysiologist (heart electrician) stopped by and we chatted.
He admitted me to the step-down unit. More hookups. Another drug that bumped my heart rate down to the 70s. Much better.
They kept me over night to monitor me. In the morning I had an Echocardiogram – which was pretty cool to watch. Chatted with the doctor a little more and they sent me home.
I’ll visit the doctor in a week or two and talk options. The one he’s guessing will be appropriate is to go in and zap some electrical pathway that shouldn’t be there – and take a good look around while he’s doing it.
Things to note about hospital stays:
If you’re going to have leads put on and they are going to do any shaving/trimming, encourage them to do as much of that as they want. You will end up with a lot less chest/back hair than you went in with, and having ’em trim it is way better than when it pulls off when the leads are removed.
When the doctor offers you something to help you sleep, it isn’t because you may sometimes have trouble sleeping – it’s because the bed is hot, you will have IVs in you, leads attached, things often beep, and people come to prod you every few hours. Take the drugs.
People wanting to know more details should email me. Family members wanting to know medical details should email Ellyn.