Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

Don’t Panic, Mom! I’m OKAY.



Wow, talk about getting desperate for blogging material!  Today was so quiet on the blogging front that I decided to whip up some exciting heart palpitations and carry myself off to the emergency room just so I’d have something to write about.

Well, okay… It wasn’t exactly like that.  It was exactly like a freaky, fluttery feeling in my chest that started a little after dinner and made me think I might possibly be getting to see the Lord a little sooner than I’d planned.  Paul and I had just finished eating and I was settling down on the couch with Willie Ford to watch an old episode of Smallville when my heart started thumping extra hard somewhere up around my throat and I suddenly felt as if I couldn’t quite catch my breath.

“Paul, something’s wrong.  I’m scared,” I whimpered, pressing a hand under my collarbone.  He checked my pulse, then laid his ear against my chest.  The next time my heart skipped a beat, he heard it.  Just like that, he was scared, too.  Instantly, he was on the phone with the emergency room, answering questions.

Chest pain?  No.

Dizziness or fainting?  No.

Weakness localized to one side of the body?  No.

Shortness of breath?  A little.

Shaking?  Definitely.

I was getting a little panicky, which certainly didn’t help.  The doctor on the phone said it didn’t sound like a heart attack, but that I probably should come in to the Urgent Care center next to the hospital and get checked out.

At Urgent Care, I answered questions about my medications and habits and tried to describe the sensation in my chest while the kind nurse attached wires for the EKG.  She switched the machine on, and said, “Oh, yeah–you’re definitely beating irregularly.  Try to relax, and we’ll get a couple of good samples to show the doctor.”

I did try to relax, but I was scared, and the whole time I could feel my heart jumping around like a tiny chihuahua trying to find a doggie door in the dark.  When she was done, she shut the machine off, disconnected my wires, and told me the doctor would look at my EKG and be right in to talk to me.

I climbed down from the examination table and sat in a chair with my arms clasped around myself, trying to will the muscle in my chest to calm down and do its duty.  It must have worked, because by the time the doctor arrived, that fluttery, breathless feeling had eased.  He listened through his stethoscope and confirmed that my heart had pretty much returned to its normal rhythm.  He ordered a second EKG just to be sure; we repeated the process with the wires and the machine, and, with a big grin on her face, the nurse declared it “boring”.

The doctor said that, while he wasn’t sure exactly what caused my little bout of cardiological salsa dancing (or PVCs–Premature Ventricular Contractions–if you’re the medical type), irregular heartbeats aren’t as rare as we might think, and usually aren’t dangerous to a healthy person my age, as long as there are no signs of underlying flaws in the heart.  He recommended that I cut my caffeine consumption in half, watch my stress levels, and follow up with my family physician if I continue to experience palpitations.

So now I’m home, thirty dollars poorer, but very happy not to be exiting the world just at this particular moment.

Not that I wouldn’t be happy to go Home, of course, but, silly mortal that I am, there are a few things I’d like to do first.

Like see my kids grow up.

And write a book.

And travel the world.

And, of course, there’s still the matter of that one last Harry Potter movie…