Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Atrial Fibrillation

I'm fibrillating like crazy. Resting heart rate of 157. This has been going on for months, maybe a year. This should give you some idea of how healthy I feel. Aside from the burning in my thighs when I take my dog for a little walk, I'm healthy as a horse--in the sick sense of no viruses, no bacterial infections, nothing that would make me feel "sick" enough to go to the doctor. So the fibrillating has gone undetected until I went in for a follow-up after getting an MRI and carotid ultrasound to get a baseline. I wanted these tests because I had a little episode that I thought might be a small stroke.

Every woman in my family has died of vascular dementia, and every man of massive cardiac events. I envy the men in my family. They all went along feeling fine, then, Wham, dead instantly. Lucky bastards. Not so, the women. All of them have died the long slow agony of a million little strokes, just enough each time to wipe out a little more of their brains, tiny bit by bit, until they start shitting their pants and forgetting who they are. Anyway, it was at the follow-up to the MRI and carotid ultrasound, during the normal taking of my blood pressure that they discovered an unusual rhythm. Then they did an EKG. Fibrillating like crazy. My doc ordered an echo-cardiogram. Fibrillating like crazy. Then, finally the follow-up with the cardiologist today. Another EKG, still fibrillating like crazy, with the resting heart rate of 157. So I am now on a blood thinner, something else to help stabilize rhythm, and some damn thing I have to inject subcutaneously twice a day. And except for the fatigued feeling in my thighs when I walk, I wouldn't have any idea anything was wrong with me. So, I could stroke out at any time, but I'm feeling fine. I wouldn't mind any of this except that I now have to go through a bunch of invasive tests and procedures that require a babysitter to take me to the hospital to have these outpatient procedures done, since they all require sedation or general anesthesia. Bummer.

All of this to say, I have not seen the news today, since I spent the whole late morning and early afternoon getting baddish news from my cardiologist. I will catch up and get back to you.

I have not written this for sympathy or condolences, since I'm really feeling fine. It's the scare factor more than anything that's getting to me. It's the prospect of multiple procedures that necessitate inconveniencing a friend that pisses me off. And unlike E, I'm not young, I have no children, and if I die now, my affairs are in order. No one will be the worse off for it, and a few friends will make out like bandits.