I thought Mother's heart attack was an isolated incident, due mostly to her age and undulating blood pressure.
Boy, was I wrong. It seems to be a family affair.
Saturday, August 9th, a little over a month ago, I was weed-wacking away at my .28 acre yard (yes, it is tiny) and my heart lost its rhythm. It went completely off beat. This has happened before, I told myself. It will go away on its own, I theorized. I continued to attack the audacious grass in my back yard (the kind that grows profusely where you don't want it, but refuses to flourish where the rest of the world could see it... say, for instance, my FRONT yard) but it wasn't long until I could barely breathe. Note that I did not say there was any chest pain, just a rapid, out-of-sync fluttering in my chest. I had to quit my war on the grass and go lie down.
An hour later, I was no better. My poor husband was becoming alarmed, and after another half hour or so, I was, too. No spontaneous conversion to normal rhythm occurred. He shipped me off to the emergency room nearby. I was walking so slowing by that time I could not keep up with hubby. I sat in the chair at the triage desk. The nurse began asking questions, and tried to get a pulse reading with her nifty end-of-the-finger pulse-ox machine. After a few seconds, she stopped asking questions and called for a wheelchair. Apparently my pulse was so off-beat it was not registering. The machine thought I was dead, I suppose. I wasn't dead, of course, but I was beginning to get annoyed with the whole situation.
I was stabbed, squeezed, poked, prodded, glued-to and then relieved of several patches of skin as they took multiple tests to find out what was going on. The female ER doctor came in, a personable lady who had been right on top of Mother's condition when she was admitted in May. She read the red-lined ECG tape with a serious expression, then said two words I had never had applied to my heart before: Atrial Fibrillation. I was rewarded with a day in the hospital and some mighty impressive medical bills.
You see, I was 'diagnosed' with PAC/PVC due to a Mitral Valve Prolapse in 1994. I had an episode very similar to the one mentioned above, and just happened to be working at a hospital when I was having it. A quick trip to the ER, and an ultrasound the next day showed a mis-firing Mitral valve, and they looked no further. I was instructed to take Tenormin for about 6 months and then start tapering off until I reached a maintenance dose. I did that, along with avoiding decongestants and caffeine, and after 6 months, tapered off to no meds at all. No recurrence, so no more Tenormin.
A subsequent ultrasound in 1999 showed no trace of a prolapse. Good thing, because i was taking out Heart Attack insurance from AFLAC. They might have frowned on covering me if I had a nasty prolapse.
The insurance is long gone (as was the job I had during that coverage) but it would have come in handy this year.
I am quite recovered, aside from inheriting a 'rest of my life' prescription for Rhythmol and having about 75% of my normal energy level.
To top it all off, the next week, on Wednesday, my 11 year old dog Spike took sick and I rushed him to the vet on my lunch hour.
Yes, he had a heart attack, too.
See? It runs in the family.
Hubby needs to get back on that treadmill, stat.
Good thing he's not blood kin, eh?
God is good, all the time. Life, however, fluctuates from day to day. I'm sure glad God is in charge.