Yesterday, with today's deadline looming, I finally got around to completing my 2011 taxes. How fitting then, that I also spent a portion of the day at the hospital casually flirting with death.
Late Sunday night, my heart slammed out of rhythm...again. It was a restless night spent convincing myself that it was probably just a minor set-back, maybe something that could be treated with medication?
Given recent conversations about a possible transplant, I'd begun to think of the Heart Failure Clinic as my one-stop shop to all things Cardiovascular...I was wrong. When I called them first thing Monday morning, I was surprised to be quickly dismissed to Dr. Chun Hwang.
Disappointed, but driven, I called Dr. Hwang's office determined to do anything necessary to end the feeling of an elephant resting on my chest. Dr. Hwang was in surgery all day...so was Dr. David Cragun...but the clinic down south agreed to squeeze me in with Cragun's PA in the afternoon, and I began internal chants of the "you can do this!" sort.
When I arrived, an awkward nursing student performed an awkward EKG, and after a couple of attempts, they had the information they needed...I was back in Atrial Fibrillation. I was certain that they were wrong. I had my Ablation September 15th and everything I understood about the results told me that if I went 6 months without another event I was in the clear and Sunday marked 7 months exactly so I COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE IN A-FIB AGAIN?!?!
The PA and I discussed possible medication adjustments that might improve things over a week's time, but I wasn't feeling that patient and I pushed for another Cardioversion. Truth is, I think the procedure is kind of creepy. But it worked 3 months ago and I craved the immediate relief it could bring. The PA obliged, contacted Dr. Cragun, and got me into the admit queue at the hospital.
I should probably speak with a professional about the cavalier attitude I've developed about being admitted to the hospital. It really shouldn't feel as common as running to the store for a gallon of milk. But there I was assisting the little admission lady and helping her realize to which tower and floor I was to report. And a few minutes later I was informing the nurses that I had something in the crock-pot and somewhere I wanted to be at 7:00 p.m,. and that we needed to make this quick.
The staff was most accommodating! I was hooked up and ready to go within minutes and Dr. Cragun appeared before I had a chance to send an update text to family. I don't think I'll ever get over how quickly they knock me out and run the procedure, but I will always be grateful for how quickly I feel the relief.
I was even the lucky recipient of a drop-in from Dr. Hwang who had recognized my name on the patient list. He was very kind and seemed as disappointed as I was that the Ablation back in September wasn't sufficient. He and I will follow-up in a couple of weeks to discuss another procedure if I don't qualify for transplant next week.
All totaled, I was only in the hospital for 2 hours so maybe it was a little dramatic for me to say I flirted with death yesterday...I did have an army of doctors, and I did receive the very best care, and I woke up this morning with a constant resting heart rate of 62 (down from 130).
2012 taxes are due an entire year from now...I think I can cheat any run-ins with fatality for at least as long.