This past month or two has been a bit stressful. I know – everyone is stressed around the holidays. Get in line! Right?
Well, I jumped to the front of the line a few weeks ago when I thought I was having heart flutters or racing or whatever you want to call it. It kept happening and I kept getting more and more stressed and finally I decided at about three in the morning one blissful sleepless night that I’d had enough. I was going in to find out what was up with my heart.
Now when you go to the doctor about your heart, you want to play it down, cause of course in the back of your mind you think, maybe it’s all my imagination. Okay, it’s not as if I’m a hypochondriac or anything! The only other time I thought maybe I was having a heart attack, I actually was having a gallbladder attack and had to have that useless organ removed. Needless to say, I was extremely happy it wasn’t my heart that time because I hear that they are actually very useful for living.
Anyway, I went in and they immediately asked this leading question. Do you have any heart history in your family?
My answer: Of course. We all have hearts. When I was a kid, I wasn’t sure if my brothers did, but now I’m pretty sure they do. Oh, you mean history of bad hearts? Well…I heard I had a great, great uncle who was a horse thief or something… or was it a train robber? I don’t remember. Oh, that’s a bad seed. Never mind.
Okay, I’ve got it. I did have an uncle and a cousin who died suddenly of some kind of heart problem. Of course, since I never knew the uncle and hadn’t seen the cousin since I was in grade school, I can’t say what the exact cause was.
So that information really wasn’t much help, other than to put up a red flag for the doctor. She immediately ordered all kinds of heart tests and wrote on my chart that I have family history of sudden death caused by heart failure.
When she put it that way… that was sort of unsettling. I mean, I’d never actually thought of their deaths as catching. It was history – but it was their history – not mine.
So I went to the hospital and had all kinds of heart tests. They did an Echo on my heart that reminded me of the ultrasounds I had when I was pregnant with my children. Hey, a heartbeat is a heartbeat. They all sound kind of the same. And hearing mine all normal and thumping was very calming.
They put in an IV so they could inject me with something and watch it on the gamma camera imaging machine. That sounds really futuristic, doesn’t it? But the future is now!
I ran on a treadmill on a steep incline until they were happy I was still alive.
I finally got a monitor attached to me with electrodes that would record my heart for twenty-four hours and I could push a button if that strange flutter occurred during the time I wore it.
Of course, the flutter never reoccurred during the recording period. That would be asking too much.
To make a long story shorter, they found nothing abnormal during the tests but taking off those little stickers on the heart monitor electrodes was deadly painful. Just saying. And apparently I’m allergic to glue.
The up side to all of this was that one of the technicians was asking about my books and I found out she already had Entangled on her nook and had never read it. So, if a medical professional’s word can be believed, my heart palpitations just put my novel to the top of her to-be-read list. All is well, that ends well.