Have you ever had one of those days when you had your day totally planned out, and something unexpected happened to change it all? Today was one of those days for me…I ended up in the emergency room!
About 9am this morning, I stood up from my desk to change something on my printer and my heart began beating very fast. After sitting back down, resting awhile, drinking water, and noticing no change, I began to worry. My sister-in-law called, and after telling her what I was experiencing, she urged me to call my doctor’s office…which I did.
Mary, my doctor’s nurse, told me what I expected to hear from her. With my mom’s heart disease history, I should make my way to the emergency room. I waited till Bill arrived home, and he took me in.
All this time, I could feel my heart pounding throughout my body. It felt at times like my heart was beating as fast as if I was at a full sprint. I would become out of breath, and begin to get very warm at times. Nothing I would do would make it stop.
When we arrived at the hospital, it was just minutes after we walked through the emergency room doors until we got into a room and I was hooked up with all sorts of wires and gadgets…ones that were familiar to me because I remember Mom having them attached to her. Bill said he could see my limbs moving with each pulse. I remember hearing a nurse say to the doctor, “She’s at 165.” I knew enough from my aerobic instructing days to know that she meant my heart rate was at 165, and I’m thinking it had probably been that high for at least three hours straight from when this whole episode started.
They put an i.v. in, and immediately administered some sort of medicine to calm my heart down. They warned me that I would feel terrible for a few seconds…and they were right. I really thought for a second that I was going to die after they put the medicine in. I looked at the clock on the wall and thought to myself, “My time of death is 12:19.” It felt worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. As Bill took my hand, I asked God to help my heart beat normally again. I remember asking God to “take this away.” I heard the nurses each say things to me, as tears were streaming down my face, “You’re doing great,” “Keep going,” “Good job,” “You’re doing just fine.” Within seconds, which seemed like a whole lot of minutes, my heart rate slowed. Bill said it went down to 80 quickly…and thankfully, it stayed there.
I was asked all sorts of questions to try to figure out why this happened. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary this morning, and only had about 1/2 cup of coffee when this started. I normally have a couple of cups in by 9am already! I hadn’t had anything to eat either. The doctor suggested I stop taking my Mucinex D and see if that makes any changes. I’ve taken that for probably two years for my sinuses, and haven’t experienced any issues. But I’ll do anything to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
I was run through the range of tests…they checked everything that had to do with my heart…enzyme levels, x-rays, my thyroid, my heart condition, etc. It was wonderful to hear that everything checked out just fine, and that I was completely healthy! We were released within a couple of hours, after seeing that my heart wasn’t going to go beating like crazy again. I’m so thankful. I still don’t feel 100% as I’m writing this, but I’m a whole lot better than this morning. I feel exhausted, which is probably expected if my heart was beating at 165 for three hours…that’s like running for three hours, except my muscles don’t hurt! 🙂
My condition was called Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia or Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia, which basically means “sudden onset of fast heart beating.” I just pray I never experience it again. But if I do, I’ll know what to expect, and that I probably won’t die from it.
Going through this experience today has helped me appreciate so many things, and helped me to see (again) really what’s important…God, my relationship with Jesus, my family, my loved ones, my friends, people who need Jesus in their lives, and that each of us need to take care of ourselves.
So, even though I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do today, I am grateful for what I did get to do. I am grateful God protected me today.
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