Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad, Parts 2 and 3 of 3

Finally, the belated sequels.

Part 2:

I can't even stay out of trouble 24 hours. I was getting my early-morning vitals (about 4 a.m.) taken and chatting with the nurse when I felt it starting to happen again.

"Kim. Check my heart rate again, please?"

And in a few minutes, the RACE team was back in here, I had a bunch of extra wires connected to me, and I was yet again explaining my cardiac history.

Seeing that the previous doctor had gotten my heart rate down using just beta and alpha blockers, this doctor opted to try that as a strategy rather than put me through the adenosine.

I appreciated the effort, but it wasn't to be. The first dose was the most effective, dropping my pulse by about 20. Then it was just diminishing returns: he used up the rest of his store bringing it down another 20.

So, hello, adenosine. I asked for my mom to be in the room with me and gripped her hand as the familiar but unwelcome crushing sensation returned. (It wasn't as intense this time, but it did last longer than earlier.) Finally, my heart rate returned to normal, and consequently everything else around here did too.

Part 3:

After I wrote Part 1 but before I could finish Part 2 (again, within 24 hours of Part 2; this time Vicky was with me instead of my mom), I had a third incident. It was almost boring. I was connected to two pulse/oxygen saturation monitors and two blood pressure machines again, as well as an EKG and yadda yadda. As RACE members filed in I said hi to the one person who had been present each time (man, I don't want her hours, I thought).

Before Vicky moved her chair out of the way, she surreptitiously handed me the PSP and whispered, "Put music on." It was still on "The Healing Place," so I pressed Play and put it to the side of my head.

Then the doctor showed up and he read through my chart. Based on the previous incident he was all set to go with adenosine again, and I anxiously pointed out that adenosine only worked the second time. As we talked about the recent incidents (and, of course, my previous history again) someone piped up: my heart rate had gone down on its own. The doc hit me with a few beta blockers to bring things down to an even more comfortable level, and after some observation they left.

I joked that it was David Sylvian that did the trick, but after a few moments' thought I realized this is the way these incidents usually happen to me.

Postscript: Over the next few days I was visited several times by cardiology and RACE, and both talked about temporary dietary restrictions, of sorts: no caffeine, and no excitement -- meaning, nothing that would get my heart racing, which might lead to tachycardia.

The first is no big deal (I've had the same restriction since March, when my reflux started), but the other two--? No Battlestar Galactica finale. No Macross Frontier. No Gatchaman, which was just getting to the good part. And don't even get me started on music restrictions. Sigh.

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