If you read regularly, you know that we had a rather complicated trip to Hawaii in February. (If you haven’t read it yet, here’s that story.)
But that wasn’t the whole story. So here’s the rest of the story.
Around the time our friends got sick and one died, I noticed heart palpitations. Skipped beats. Not exactly heart-stopping, but still troublesome.
Some 25 years ago same thing happened, sending me to a cardiologist. After I wore a Holter monitor for a couple weeks, he determined there was nothing wrong. It fell in the category of shiz happens, and it disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared.
Why is this happening again?
This time, though, it didn’t exactly disappear. It got worse. I figured it was stress. And after a few weeks it went away, then returned. And while we were in Hawaii, seemed to completely disappear.
And then, back at home, palpitations reappeared, like an old friend. But not. Maybe two or three skipped beats a minute. Sometimes very very noticeable. Using our pulse oximeter, I checked my heart’s rhythm and yes, I was skipping beats.
Ostrich. Like me.
I saw my internist. Three months later. I know, I know: I know better. But sometimes, I am an ostrich, head in the sand.
“Oh yes, I feel the skips on your pulse,” she said. Her tech did an EKG and drew blood, then she sent me down the street to the cardiology practice we use. Like, within 30 minutes. There, I got fitted for a Zeos monitor to record my heart rhythms for a week.
The diagnostics were almost worse than the symptom. First, the tech scrubbed the skin over my heart with what felt like a Brillo pad. Exfoliating doesn’t even begin to cover what she did. Ouch!
“This will sting,” she said, as she took a Clorox wipe and sanitized the raw skin. YIKES. Ok, maybe it wasn’t Clorox, but it felt like that. I mean that hurt. Seriously.
A fancy booklet came with the monitoring patch, but it didn’t cover the tricks the tech explained about how to comfortably remove it in a week.
“Really? You expect me to remember these complicated instructions in a week? Why don’t you just type up an instruction sheet and give it to patients?”
“Ohh!” the tech said. “What a good idea! I’ll do that tonight, look for my email.”
Where’s that email?
Nope. No email.
It took my skin a few hours to stop burning.
Next morning I heard a text ding in from my doctor.
Your potassium is dangerously low. Immediately eat two bananas or drink two glasses of OJ.
I called in potassium pills — take four daily for two days, then one a day. Take with food, they are hard on the stomach.
She hypothesized that depleted potassium was affecting my heart. Could even cause a heart-stopping situation. I grabbed bananas and started eating. Michael went to get the prescription.
The pills were the size of a VW Bug. I needed to take four a day for two days then one a day after that. Seriously?
I texted back:
Those pills are huge! I don’t like swallowing big pills,
can’t I just eat potassium rich foods?
Oh I know. I’m a pain in the ass. She knows it, too. But my saving grace is that I am revenue.
No. You need to take those pills. You need them. You have to have them. Try. You have to take them. Let me know.
She meant business. So I took them.
Within 24 hours
the abnormal rhythm disappeared.
On the fourth day she tested my blood. A few hours later: Ding!
Your potassium is perfect. You can go to one pill every other day.
Remove the monitor Monday and mail it back.
And I want to test your blood again before you go to Rochester this month.
Ok then! But then, the skips came back. Occasionally during the day. They weren’t completely gone.
At the end of the week I found YouTube instructions and removed the patch easily. No biggie. Mailed it back and waited. And waited. And waited. Getting nervous, as I was heading to our east coast home for three weeks alone. I didn’t want to wake up dead so I wanted to know what was going on. Finally, 10 days later I got a text from my internist:
Patch back. No significant events.
Occasional skips. No worries.
This was good news, for sure.
So what did I learn from this?
The biggest lesson is to jump right on symptoms, instead of hiding my head in the sand. I figured it was nothing: stress. But I was wrong. Had this been something serious, I would have regretted not handling it earlier. Because my heart could have stopped.
And, it was fixable. So my worst fears did not come true.
I wasn’t always a Nervous Nellie about health, only since my mother’s illness and death in 1999. But this turn of events made clear that I had to face my fears head on. Because it could be worse if I didn’t.
How about you? Have you had a sudden health situation? How did you react?
And maybe you know someone who is fighting a health battle?
Or maybe you need some healing support, yourself.
Please don’t forget my supportive gifts for healing, right here: