I appreciate, so much, people’s comments, hopes, and wishes in response to yesterday’s blog post.
Here are some random thoughts about what’s been happening:
Over the “Breaking Bad” Marathon Weekend (see here, here, and here), I noticed I was getting short of breath. There were LOTS of reasons for those feelings, so I noted them, but I didn’t worry about them.
However, after the weekend was over, I still noticed the shortness of breath. I no longer had good explanations for those feelings, so I started getting concerned.
Monday night, when I was taking a nice long walk with my bf, Michael, I talked to him about my worries. I said to him, “I can’t figure out, these days, whether these feelings are in my head or in my heart.”
And I told him about a technique for people having panic attacks. This technique was inspired by this book (which I recommend highly):
The technique is this: If you feel panicky and believe that might be heart-related, try this:
Exert yourself physically and see what happens.
So I said to Michael, “Wanna sprint?” Because I also remembered, many years ago, challenging my old business partner, Jonathan, in a similar way, and discovering — much to my surprise — that I was a damn good sprinter (over very short distances).
So Michael and I sprinted, to the nearest tree. And it was fun, again, to run like the wind.
After our sprint, I took my pulse. And, much to my surprise, I found that my pulse ….
… was not speeding up. At all.
It reminded me of my life, from ages 10 to 35, when I lived with a fixed-rate cardiac pacemaker. During that time, even though I managed to dance a lot of disco, becoming a
(which was lots of fun), my heart rate never, ever speeded up, no matter how much I exercised.
In 1987, when I was 35 years old, I got my first DDD cardiac pacemaker, which essentially repaired my heart to act like yours — like a “normal” heart. That is, every time I exercised, my heart speeded up.
I remember, after I got that pacemaker in 1987, going to an indoor track and jogging.
To me, that felt like one of my childhood dreams.
Flying like Peter Pan.
Monday night, my heart was not speeding up at all, after I had sprinted like the wind.
So I knew something was very wrong, but I didn’t know what. When Michael and I got back home, I called the on-call cardiology resident at the hospital where I get my treatment. And together, we decided I should come into the Emergency Room.
So, at 9 o’clock on Monday night, Michael and I went to the Emergency Room.
Now, as usual, I have some time limitations on writing this blog post, so I need to make a “long story, short.” Here are some of the highlights of the next 24 hours:
- A very cool doctor, whom I had never met before, listening to my heart, and telling me that I had a “beautiful” heart murmur, which “sounded like the wind.”
- Two very cool doctors, whom I had met before, telling me that I was in atrial fibrillation, probably for the rest of my life, but not to worry, because this was extremely manageable, and with my very cool pacemaker, they would fix it so that I might actually feel better than I had been feeling lately.
- These same two very cool doctors, seriously and respectfully discussing with me the pros and cons of various responses to my current situation, one of which would include being on medication for the rest of my life.
- My believing that the decision we came to, together, was a good one, and feeling hopeful about the future.
- Spending a couple of hours, having an echocardiogram performed on me, with one of the kindest, most beautiful people I have ever met in my life, which included the tears involved with any new, unexpected, and potentially scary development in one’s life.
- Having nothing but good results, in all ways.
- Going home.
Which is where I am writing this blog post, now.
Gotta end this blog post, so I can get some more sleep and go to work.
Thanks to doctors old and new, runners who fly like the wind, kind people everywhere, and to you — especially — for reading today.