Thursday, November 12, 2009

Heart Problems

I declared yesterday a "good" day and invited my husband for a dinner date while I'm feeling good.  So what happens?  Not long after the soup arrives, my heart flipped into a pounding palpitation that ended up lasting through most of the night.  It made me feel like there was this pressure on my throat and chest, and the beat was visibly moving my body.  I continued to eat dinner and hope it would flip back to normal soon.

We got home and went to bed a bit early so I could rest.  As the hours wore on, I started to develop pains in my left shoulder blade and left arm, and endured that odd, pounding discomfort in my chest and throat.  Sleep would not come for many hours.  I had been able to focus on the proper rhythm before and have the heartbeat return to normal, but it just wasn't happening this time.  All through the night, I wondered when I would have to make the call to get up and head to the ER to try to fix it.  Ultimately, I decided that if I still had the palpitations in the morning, I would go to the hospital instead of work.

After a fitful night of mostly unrest, I finally found relief in the early morning hours - probably somewhere around 4am or 5am.  Thank goodness.  I was finally able to get a couple hours of sleep so I could get to work.  I have already used up all of my sick days for the year, and have alloted my few remaining vacation days, so taking a day off right now is not an easy option.

I assume the type of heart arrythmia I experienced was atrial tachycardia, since that's the diagnosis I got after my first episode at age 17, when I went to the ER to have the proper hearbeat rhythm restored with IV drugs.  I went to a cardiologist not long after that first episode and was checked out with EKG and an ultrasound machine.  Everything seemed normal.  There was no diagnosis.  I was sent home with "some people seem to be born with a tendency to have these" sentiment, and instructions to avoid caffeine.

After 30 years, I've had maybe about 50 episodes total, but most of them only lasted a few seconds or minutes.  I remember one major one that lasted through a movie about 10 years ago.  Another one that started after jumping rope.  Now this one.  I don't know how long to wait until going to ER for these things, because I always expect them to be short.  On top of that, last spring I went to the ER for breathing issues (not heart) and they made me take a stress test with ultrasound - and of course, everything looked just fine with my heart, even though I was having trouble breathing.

I have decided to see a cardiologist anyway.  I figure at least they can see if things have changed, take tests I hadn't had before or that may be more accurate today than they were back then.

Today I am feeling the after-effects of the episode: my throat and chest hurt as I breathe in.  They feel like their elasticity is lacking.  Maybe the fibro is making my muscles "remember" what they endured for so many hours.  I noticed that my body remembers pain for a long time.  Pokes and little dings hurt for minutes after the contact is done.  It's the same with sounds.  Sometimes sounds hurt, and it continues to hurt or echo in my mind after it's over. 

Anyway, I'll post an update once I get an appointment for a heart specialist and receive any test results.  I hate to hope for a diagnosis of some sort, but it's frustrating always having everyone tell me I'm fine and shouldn't be having problems.  (Fibromites should know exactly what I'm talking about.)