Sunday, August 5, 2018

My Accidental Cardiac Adventures

Truly ugly
 As usual did this in a rush, will proofread and correct later.

Well, as weeks go this one was pure shit bordering on true hell. The end result, which occurred yesterday with me being discharged from the hospital was sore arms from all the IV's the nurses inserted. There is a little exaggeration involved here but given the number of times I had a needle inserted into the crook of my arms or the dorsal side of my hands I could have money renting myself out as a voodoo doll.

Also during this time a majority of my chest hair was eventually shaved off so the little cardiac sensor pads would stay in place. This shaving only took place after the nurses and technicians spent a couple of days ripping a bunch of them off taking clumps of hair every time. On a pain scale, removing the little adhesive sensor pads were relatively minor although we're talking quantity not quality. The biomedical gizmo they used to monitor my heart took five pads, and if one went bad they replaced all of them.

What put me into the hospital? Well Monday night I was at work doing my usual duties, nothing overly difficult or strenuous, just the same old chores. At some point I began to notice I had about ten-thousand butterflies in my chest having a rave party, there was no pain, although I did feel woozy.

I eventually garnered enough sense to go find some medical personnel to check my blood pressure since after about fifteen to twenty minutes it became clear the butterflies were not about to call it quits for the night. Believe it or not, my blood pressure was fine, it was well inside normal, healthy parameters. My heart rate on the other hand was the cardiac equivalent of a nuclear meltdown.

The person I found to check my blood pressure and heart rate was one of the night shift nurses in recovery. Luckily, her department was empty of patients, so she ushered me over to one of the stretchers and had me sit close to the patient monitor. At first all she did was place the blood pressure cuff over my arm and let the automatic system do its electronic thing. It was when she listened to my heart with a stethoscope that I scared the hell out of her. Not only was my heart rate running north of 220 beats per minute, my cardiac rhythm was pure chaos.

Mere minutes later I am wheeled down to the Emergency Department with a whole host of highly trained and very worried people hovering over me. Their chief objective was to get my heart rate down, it took two sets of drugs to accomplish that goal. Not long after that I am wheeled to a room in the cardiac intensive care unit where I spent the next several days.

Long complicated story short, after an intensive electrocardiogram and cardiac catheterization the good news was that my pipes were clear of all that nasty stuff that causes heart attacks. Yeah, given my habits I was rather surprised at that bit of happy information. The partial bad news was that, without going into complex medical terminology I know I was screw up, my heart was suffering from some abnormal cells who essentially could hijack my cardiac rhythm. After discussing this with my doctors, I realized I had been suffering similar episodes that were far less severe and far shorter in duration for a long time. Given my ass backwards work schedule, and that I was both overweight and out of shape, I attributed these episodes to just being tired.

Further good news is that this condition is curable- the exact word used by my cardiologist. It involves a procedure called a cardiac ablation which was performed Thursday night. Once again boiling away the technical terms that I would misuse in some fashion, the doctors got one half of my heart done. There was an issue as they proceeded with the second half and that got scary for my family and for me once I realized the extent of how badly things went sideways.

I have to strongly state that I do not believe the doctors did anything wrong. As with all medical procedures there is a chance things could go bad. Circumstances just didn't obey expectations but the doctors were able snatch at least a partial victory from the jaws of cosmic misfortune. I came away with just a truly huge bruise around my groin. Seriously, it's so massively gross I am tempted to take a picture of it. Don't worry, I have enough sense to realize that posting such a picture would be the worst form of oversharing.

My intention is to recover and about a month or two from now have the other half of the ablation done. As of right now I am taking medication that should at least partially keep the nasty abnormal heart cells from going terrorist and hijacking my heart again.

Please excuse my usual attempts at humor, as you might expect it's a coping mechanism. I do have to give a huge shout out to my fantastic doctors and nurses that worked hard to save my sorry ass. Furthermore, I have to say my coworkers rallied around me in a way that left me misty eyed a couple of times. They took time out of their busy schedules to come see during me while I was laying in a hospital bed. What's worse for them is that the doctors are forcing me to take a week off to recover. That means my monthly duties falls on them, adding to their burden. That truly bothers me and I hope that at some point I can make it up to them.

Getting kicked in the cardiac ass like I did this week means my lifestyle will have to change. Even though the pipes bringing and taking blood away from my heart are squeaky clean, I'm smart enough to know things there could go wrong in the coming years. That means far less coffee and sodas and somehow I will have to find the time and energy to go to the gym.

As things progress, I'll keep everyone informed.


Donna said...


Harry Hamid said...

That is really scary and I hope that you get through it in a hurry.

This is the downside of getting to know people through blogs - we don't know when something really awful has happened to the people we talk to!

Please give yourself time to heal when this is all over, and keep us up to date.

Charlestonjoan said...

How frightening! Happily cardiac care is one area in medicine where they can actually fix things and we do know what lifestyle changes can make a difference. That is why I do support the heart association because advances have made a difference. Glad you are still here! Speedy recovery!

Bob said...

Holy Cr*p!

All told, I suppose the only thing to really think on is, "it could have been worse". Like, when one of your offspring or relatives have to "update the blog".

Get well.

The Bug said...

How scary! And weird that I have a friend who had the same thing - or at least sort of. They could only do half her ablation because something went terribly wrong. I'm just glad both of you are around to talk about it!

Pixel Peeper said...

Glad you are back home and giving encouraging updates! I think you scared quite a few people when you posted that hospital selfie on Facebook.

Thank Goodness for good doctors and modern medicine! Make sure you follow doctor's orders, take the time to heal, and keep us updated. No more crazy episodes like that. There are other ways to get out of mowing the lawn, dammit.

goatman said...

Just remember: you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose
but you can't pick your friend's nose!

Happy healing

sage said...

Oh no, hang in there. I hope you are recovering from that hospital stay.

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