Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Have a heart (that works properly)

There are some days in your life that stand out more than others.
The birth of my children are days I will never forget.
Thereís also my wedding day and my wifeís birthday. Mind you those last two are more self preservation than anything else because if I forget those, Iíll be sleeping in the garage.
A day of personal significance is Oct. 20, 2003. Thatís the day I got to see the inner workings of the emergency room from a patientís point of view.
I have had atrial fibrillation my entire life and normally it has not been a problem, but on this day it was. I like to call it A-Fib, kind of like J-Lo or A-Rod.
I also call it the flippity-flop, because thatís what it feels like your heart is doing in your chest ñ flopping around. In reality, the atrium is beating at a different rate than the ventricle, causing a very weird sensation.
Millions of people have it, and considering it is a heart murmur it is not too hazardous and will not likely lead to a heart attack.
Worst case scenario is the blood pools in your heart and form clots which can enter your brain and cause a stroke ñ which doesnít sound like a whole lot of fun now that I think about it.
Fortunately, there are medications to keep the flippity-flop under control.
Anyway, I woke up Oct. 20 with my heart jumping around my chest like one of those cartoon characters when they see a pretty girl.
I waited for it to settle down, which it usually did, but on this day it refused to go away, so I got to go on an all-expense paid trip to the emergency room.
Itís not the first time I have been to the ER, but it was the first time I went there for myself. On recent visits, it was my young daughter who needed medical attention for her asthma.
Of course, an asthma attack can't happen during the day. It has to happen at 2 a.m.
During one family visit to the ER, police escorted a man into the ward wearing a torn shirt-handcuff ensemble, complete with tattoos and bad attitude.
I am not sure what he was doing there, but I heard someone mention an accident and I thought if he got into an MVA while he was DUI he is SOL.
There were drunk people in there, or people on drugs or someone who had been in a fight ñ all in all it was an interesting crowd.
When I went in for my heart, it was in the morning and I was surrounded by the geriatric crowd, so it was much quieter.
Nurses hooked me up to a variety of machines to see what my heart was doing only to come to the conclusion I was in full AF. No duh.
They gave me a couple types of medicines, but nothing worked so the doctor said they were going to have to zap me. I am sure he used a much more professional doctor-type phrase, but you get the idea.
The nurse said they were going to put me under and she injected some sort of knock-out medicine in my arm.
I can remember looking at her as she asked how I was doing.
"I'm feeling pretty groovy," was the last thing I remember saying before waking up 15 minutes later.
My heart felt normal and I felt good.
ìWe hit you with 100 jules at first, but that didnít work so we had to hit you with 200,î said the doctor who looked younger than my dog.
My first thought was, why didnít you just hit me with 200 in the first place, but I am not a doctor and I am sure he knew what he was doing.
Or he just wanted to play with some of the cool machines he had lying about and he thought it looked neat when I got zapped.
"Watch how his leg sticks straight up every time I push the red button. Cool. Sure, you can try it. Hey guys, címere you gotta check this out."
Either way I left feeling much better than when I showed up.

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