Well, on the heels of doing 200 kettlebell swings a day for January I find myself strapped into a shiny new holter heart monitor. This past Sunday we were just being lazy dogs and not doing much when I noticed it.
Randomly I’d feel what is described as a flutter or dip in power in my heart. It wasn’t like a high rate after a workout. It happened the rest of the day and into Sunday night. I go to bed with it at the back of my mind. I kept it from the wife.
Monday morning I get up and go about my routine and it happens again. Probably 5 times before I leave for work. At my desk it is now on the front of my mind. I tell my wife in an IM.
I am persuaded, by the wife, to get to a doctor. I hate doctors. Luckily they can fit me in after I mention I feel like something is wrong. The dread, that creeping dread, crept upon me in the car, it kept me in the parking lot an extra minute just outside the doctors office. Blood pressure is normal. Rate is normal. Time for the stethoscope, the cold metal shock, not as bad as hearing the doc say “I think I heard something.”
An old ass EKG rolls in, looks like a fax machine. I’m requested to remove my shirt and lay back, the sticky electrodes are applied. The nurse presses some buttons and some paper slides out. It’s over. She unhooks me, takes the machine and its paper away. That process was all of 3 minutes, how good can that be?
I’m now at the pay window with barely any info and an appointment card to the cardiology clinic across town for a whole day later, what if I drop dead tonight? Those thoughts are on the front of my mind. The flutter or dip or whatever continues through the night. My end of day de-stress rituals do little. More thoughts on the front of my mind.
Tuesday, more of the same. 1pm is when I need to be at the cardiology clinic. I leave work at noon, it’s 20 minutes away. I want to be early, it’s just who I am. I pull up and realize this cardiology clinic is the old funeral home, my pal was sent off in this building a few years back and my spidey sense is really tingling now. I just need a black cat to cross my path and some ladders to walk under. The waiting room has 3 really old people, the kind that are supposed to be here. Walkers, air tanks, and bags of urine hanging like fuzzy dice. I scroll back through any tweets I may have missed while I wait. The front of my mind is getting crowded.
My name is called and I move to the door to follow the doctor. We land in a small exam room.
“Please remove your shirt, I’ll need to shave you.”
I would have expected a line of questioning such as what brings you here or what is going on but I get lots less. She whips out some cheap looking plastic disposable razor and proceeds to dry shave my chest. The whole time telling me she knows it hurts which in my head sounds like “is it safe?”
Once that bit of dignity finds its way into the biohazard box, she prepares the monitor and the electrodes. Carefully placed and taped to my torso. No good will come of this chimes my inner monologue. I’m instructed to push the big button when an event occurs. Before I can get my shirt back on it happens. I’m happy it does for once. I hit the button. I’m not losing my mind and there is digital proof.
I pressed that button at least 50 times from 2pm until I went to bed around 11pm that night.
Wednesday morning, regular routine and off to work. I pressed it 6 times before work. I lost count before I returned it that afternoon. I lost some more chest hair too. I tried to hide it at work. Weakness isn’t tolerated at this place. Luckily only a few saw it and seemed concerned enough to ask what was up. The good non poisonous people are few at my job, so it’s good to confide in them.
I bolted to return the thing, knowing full well it wouldn’t speed the news. I suspect I won’t hear anything until next week. In the meantime the event still occurs. No rhyme or reason. I’m freaked out at every little thing my body is doing, tensing to sneeze, or hoisting up from the chair. Those CSI or House like animations of clots rocketing to my brain or other internal bits exploding are filling my head, possibly driving more events. I really do NOT want the plant nurse putting his lips on my mouth or any of the 50 electricians jumping at the chance to shock my ass into oblivion because IT lost a 6 year old email. I don’t want my wife to find me curled up dead at home. The back of my mind is really damn empty.
Friday was pretty much the same regarding the amount of events. Saturday however was less than a dozen that I felt. I’m sure going emo about it has helped relieve some stress. I’m grateful for the support too. I’ll update this again when I hear from the doctor.
UPDATE2: No conclusive word yet. I’ve called and even been back to the doc. They said more than likely it’s nothing and if it was life threatening the cardio people would have called already. I don’t buy that, I think the medical establishment is a racket and they just don’t give a shit, period. I am advised to not take on any projects or stress or take up new exercises. Adding work and stress was never real high on my list of to dos. As for exercising it places a damper on my start to running but puts the KB back in play, after all the KB has been normal since October. I’m out of town next week so I really don’t expect to hear anything by then either. I can say that the “events” are less in frequency, for example, today I only felt 3 of them all day. I really appreciate the support I’m getting from you guys virtually and and in real life, it means a lot and venting this is probably good medicine.
UPDATE3: I spoke with the cardiologist clinic and apparently my monitor results were left on a desk somewhere. They rushed to get them to the doctor. In talking with them they mentioned premature heart beat and very slow heart rate during sleep. I still have to play the waiting game to see if my doc wants me to go to the cardiologist. At least that’s something. The actual events are pretty slow now, maybe 2-3 a day.
UPDATE4: FINALLY got a turn at the cardiologist. Guy says it is a PVC . Premature ventricular contraction. They did a sonogram of the heart and I’m waiting for those results. He said they are most often benign and only a bother in reality. In extreme cases they put the patient on meds but didn’t see a need to go that route with me. I’m somewhat relieved except they are still happening. His suggestion was to decrease coffee and see if that lessened them. They’ve only been happening about 2-4 times a day lately. I’m going to proceed under that. We’ll see if anything else pops up.