Being a teacher allows one all of the advantages of national holidays, snow days. A three day weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. turns into a four day weekend when the Friday before is cancelled due to inclement weather (and a five day weekend when the returning Tuesday is also cancelled).
But I am here to tell you about my Saturday. My weekend has been an interesting ride to say the least.
Saturday afternoon, I took a shower and then afterward, I was gathering laundry. Immediately after bending over to pick up a laundry basket, I experienced a phenomena called heart palpitations. Basically, my heart had been pounding, felt like it was racing. No chest pain or tightness. No difficult breathing. Just an elevated heart rate. I'm sure my anxiety exacerbated some of it when I started becoming nervous. I laid down for about ten minutes when the feeling subsided. I went back to collecting laundry and drove ten minutes to my grandmother's house to start on laundry. When I sat down again, I began experiencing heart palpitations once again. I tried laying down. They didn't go away. I took an aspirin. Nothing helped.
I drove home (probably a stupid decision in hindsight), but again, I didn't have any chest pain, difficulty breathing or performing tasks. Jamie was home from work and I gave him a teary/freak out mode/explanation of what was going on with me. He calmed me down, and I made a decision. Given my family history, I decided to go the local Urgent Care Clinic. They did some tests and a 12 lead and decided to send me to the hospital in an ambulance! Cue more freaking out and tears!
While in the ambulance, I know that my heart rate peaked at around 223 bpm. Paramedics gave me adenosine, which basically stopped and restarted my heart so it wouldn't beat so fast.
I was transported to our local hospital (which does NOT have a good reputation), where they ran some tests, EKGs, administered various beta blockers to normalize my heart rate (it was still fluctuating over 100) and blood thinners to check for clots. This helped bring it down to the 80s. My bloodwork showed I had elevated levels of a cardiac enzyme that appears when the heart undergoes damage or stress, so while I was currently fine, they were worried about that and had no idea at what caused this (no previous symptoms, this literally started when I bent over to pick up a laundry basket). I did NOT have a heart attack, which is clear since I could walk, talk, and function. If there had been issue with my arteries or blood vessels, I could have had a heart attack. The doctor in the ER was also concerned about damage being done to a muscle above my heart during my fast heart rate. He made the decision to send me to Saint Thomas in Nashville (a good hour and a half away and not our usual first choice in hospitals) so I could be monitored by a cardiologist, mostly because Huntsville and Crestwood didn't have any beds available on account of having so many flu patients.
So about 11:00 pm last night I was loaded into another ambulance. Paramedics are really friendly people, but the hour and a half ride was absolute TORTURE. DO NOT RECOMMEND. They wanted me in an ambulance to monitor me, but I don't see how they could because the machine gave off erratic readings for every bump we hit (and there were a LOT of bumps). Also gurneys are not friendly to sharp tailbones or wide hips FYI.
Arrived in Nashville after midnight, and bid farewell to my lovely paramedics. More blood was drawn, more EKGs, spoke to a nightshift cardiologist, who was concerned that there did not seem to be a trigger or prior symptoms. Literally, as a twenty-five year old female, this was the first time I'd ever been hospitalized. My thyroid was good, no sign of diabetes or pregnancy. No clots or infections. He mentioned that my potassium levels were a bit high. Then I slept a few hours. More blood was drawn once I woke up.
Saw another cardiologist. His assessment was that I have SVT, an arrhythmia caused by an extra muscle around my heart. He said it usually develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. I have a 50% chance of experiencing another episode this year and a 100% of experiencing one within the next 5 years.
He recommended a procedure called am ablation to heat treat and remove that extra muscle tissue around my heart. Medicine wouldn't be ideal for my situation because of how infrequent this would happen. He has done said procedure since 1991 and says that there is an overall 95% success rate with no complications.
So, I'm supposed to be contacted by someone in the future to schedule this procedure, which he described the process as looking for blockages in the heart, outpatient with 3 days of rest and recovery. Meanwhile, I was administered a beta blocker and then discharged from the hospital yesterday with a prescription for more beta blockers.
I am fine now and am grateful that we have been off from school so I can take this opportunity to recover. I'm taking my meds as instructed as well as monitoring my blood pressure and heart rate. After talking with other people, this condition seems to be a lot more common than I had been initially aware, and most people can manage with surgery.
I've had Jamie with me the entire time, and he has been an absolute godsend.
Conclusion: no more laundry for me.