Sunday, August 14, 2011


There is a little something I neglected to tell you about, because I figured I'd already put enough on your plate and you might be getting full.  However, since I myself am feeling so much better now I will explain what's been going on with Ken.

He was with me last Monday at the doctor's office, when I got my Big Diagnosis.  He wanted to investigate an unpleasant fluttering/fast heartbeat he'd been having on and off for a month.  "Actually," he told the doc, "it's happening right now."

Doc whipped out his stethoscope, and had a listen.  Oh yes, he could hear it.  It's atrial fibrillation, he said.  Not to worry, there are easy fixes for that, like medication or sometimes they put a catheter into your heart and just burn off those misfiring cells.

Now I wasn't too worried because my own grandfather has been living with atrial fibrillation for almost a century now and he just had another birthday so how bad could it be?  I looked over at Ken.  His face was flushed and perspiration had beaded on his forehead and upper lip, although the room was cool.  I think basically what he heard the doctor say was "blah blah HEART CONDITION blah de blah SURGERY OPERATION BURN YOUR HEART WITH AN ELECTRICAL PROBE blah etc."  So right at that very moment, despite Doc's good intentions, Ken wasn't feeling at all reassured.

He scooted straight downstairs to the lab where they ran an ECG strip.  Doc made time to look at it right away.  He took one look, laughed in a relieved way, and said Oh, you're fine, don't worry about it; it'll probably resolve on it's own.  Then he sent us on our way.

Ken wasn't convinced, and since the whole problem was/is triggered by stress and he was seriously stressing, it suddenly got a whole lot worse.  All week he was bedevilled by a racing heart rate and a very disconcerting rhythm irregularity whenever he exerted himself at all.  I watched my husband go grey around the mouth, break out in a sweat, and complain of chest pain on a daily basis.  At first I thought it would pass, and avoided worrying, but by the end of the week when things weren't letting up I started getting scared too.

I looked up the symptoms for atrial fibrillation and the symptoms of a heart attack to make sure that I would be able to tell the difference between the two.  Ha ha ha joke's on me!  Guess what!  The symptoms are almost EXACTLY THE SAME!   So then there were two of us pretty much convinced that Ken might drop dead of a heart attack at any moment.

I started checking to make sure he was still breathing when he was asleep.  Then I started planning what I would have to do when I became a widow, like figure out how our home computer is actually set up with all the external hard drives and the backup and whatnot, so that I could maintain it myself, and I didn't see how I could do it.  That and other things, like I've always counted on him to make the homemade guacamole for our Mexican dinners.  I started feeling depressed.

Anyway, fortunately things took a turn for the better, and today we were out trampoosing* around what we call The Etobicoke Park by the lake for the better part of an hour, and he didn't turn grey or get overexerted, which made me feel much better.  (*For a full definition of trampoosing please refer my Twitter feed.)  He's still planning to follow up with further medical attention, but is worrying less, I think.  I am no longer planning my future as a widow.  I think that we're both going to be OK.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

I think Ken will be fine... now when they take three EKGs and call the squad it's a bit more serious. There is talk of shocking my heart and restarting it if it doesn't go out of AFIB on its own. Big fun...

Jameil said...

Phew! That was scary! Rashan breathes loudly and sometimes snores in his sleep. When he stops this, I get creeped out!! I check his breathing in his sleep almost nightly. I admit, I've had those crazy what would happen if I was a widow so soon thoughts. Not cool.

Granny Annie said...

This is so weird. My brother-in-law and one of my friends both were diagnosed with atrial fib this past week. Maybe all the doctors received a flyer about the problem last Monday and are seeing it everywhere. Tell that to Ken and maybe it will calm him. I must share this post with them.

Jenski said...

Do you guys have a relaxing vacation planned at all in the near future? I think that would be good. :-)

Lynn said...

I have that irregular heartbeat thing - it is a little disconcerting when it happens. The doctor told me to cough hard and it would "reset" my heart - and it works. :)

DarcKnyt said...

I'm glad Ken's doing better, and I'll say a prayer for you. I do the same thing you did -- my mind creates a horrible worst-case scenario and my brain and body react to that.

Fortunately, the WCS is almost never the true scenario. But if I don't worry, who will? I asks ya, who will?! :)

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: Oy! That is bad news. Your poor heart. I guess it's struggling on both physical and metaphysical levels. Wish I could help.

Jameil: I think everyone "goes there" once in a while. It's the price one pays for caring about someone so much. (BTW totally worth it!)

Granny Annie: That is a bizarre coincidence! It's a fairly common condition, but to have all the diagnoses within the same week? That's odd.

Jenski: We're not going away anywhere (neither of us are big on travelling) however Ken is taking the rest of the summer off work. His stress comes from concern for his ailing father, so it's kind of a chronic worry on his mind these days.

Lynn: That's cool! Thanks for the tip. I'll tell Ken to give it a try.

DarcKnyt: Exactly. And don't try to argue with your lizard-brain. You'll lose every time. All you can do is wait it out and try not to add to the adrenal chaos it's creating.

DarcsFalcon said...

Oh my! When it rains it pours! I'm sure Ken's worry over your situation didn't help matters either.

At least the doc was reassuring and could encourage him not to worry. Worry never helps. And yay that he seems to be doing much better!

Yes, a nice long relaxing vacation for the 2 of you! A 2nd honeymoon or something!

Keeping you both in my prayers now! :) Oh, how's your step-dad?

Sparkling Red said...

DarcsFalcon: Thank you for the prayers! I know they help. :-)
Thanks for asking about my step-dad. He's doing very well now. His only complaint is that after his hip surgery he has one leg shorter than the other, which is messing up his golf swing. Otherwise, it's been smooth sailing for him. :-D

Pixiebaby said...

Awww Spark...I'm sorry to read that the two of you are going through this. Hopefully both of you will be able to get treatment which is relatively painless and feel much better soon. I was very glad to read about the park outing by the end of your post. *hugs*