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This past week has been very, very busy. On the 18th, I saw my cardiologist who looked at my MRI Scan of my heart results and declared that I probably have not had a heart attack or else my ejection rate would not be back at a normal rate (with help of medications). I now own NO dead heart muscle and I am allowed to do anything I want/can physically. So my main goal is to work my health back up to as good as it can be. I found it interesting that he did not even change my medications, though I have the beginnings of Cardiac Artery Disease (CAD). I guess I am not far enough in for the change he thought I might have needed in an earlier appointment. This is all GREAT news!!!
Two days later, as if on cue, my husband said,”Honey, I think I need to go to the hospital.”His chest hurt mildly, and he did his home EKG and found that the pattern matched the picture that the cardiologist (same as mine, Dr. Fred VanDis, Roseburg –we both highly recommend him, get there before he retires!) drew for him so he’d know what Afib looked like. So, I drove him to the hospital around 6:30ish. The intake crew immediately confirmed Afib. Blood was drawn pretty quickly. And in the long run, it came back normal. So there was no heart attack in the making, just Afib. Now, don’t think that I am taking Afib lightly, I am very aware that it can cause life-ending blood clots that lead to stroke. In those moments, I was pretty damn scared, but, you know, you have to be strong for the one actually going through the actual problem. Of course, he was very full of humor. If he was scared, he sure wasn’t letting on.
He got his very first ever, shock. You know, you see it on TV, with the paddles and all. It was determined that he’d caught the Afib and got himself into the emergency room fast enough that shocking the heart was actually an option. If he’d been in Afib for days (as he was the first time) then a shock to the heart is out of the question because there is a good chance that a blood clot has formed and a shock could help it circulate through the system and create a stroke. He consented and signed his life away. The crew knocked him out, and the crew noted how ‘entertaining’ he was while he was on the way out. Then they shocked him.
In the meantime, I very willingly, stepped out as asked. I do believe that would have been too hard for me to watch in all honesty. I got to the waiting room. I used the girls’ room, and I played one game of solitaire. Then Kyle (part of the intake crew, and expert blood drawer) came out to get me and let me know they were done, and that it was a success.
They then began to let him know that as he was able he’d be ready to go home. He was still somewhat groggy. But, his heart tried to go into Afib again, so they decided he had to stay and be watched for 30 more minutes after he was given metoprolol in his IV. Probably an hour later, after his heart had finally settled down for a full 30 minutes, he got to go home. We were home and in by 3:35 am.
While there…we talked about what might have triggered the Afib, as apparently it can be triggered by outside things like stress, exercise, etc. We decided it was probably the physical stress of taking out a mature butterfly bush. Our oldest bush, at least 10 years old, was showing signs of considerable decay— aka rot! He was able to just push branches off with his foot. But, that was foot, leg muscles (the strongest in the body) and quite a bit of effort. OF course, there is also the underlying stress of his bankruptcy. But, we think ultimately, it was the butterfly bush.
But, you know the very next morning (er, same morning) we were both up doing what we had to do. He fixed our push weed wacker and started the lawn mower for me. I finished the front yard, and he started working on the very back which was knee deep in grass and weeds. I pushed the lawn mower to the place that I was afraid I was too weak to do, and the truth is I had to stop once and just breathe. I am not as strong as I was, but I can see now that as long as I have my medications (until my heart gets stronger) that I should be able to do whatever I did before. Good news!! And he got all of the inside of the back yard done. What he did was really no big deal back in the old days, but now, knowing that I didn’t even want him out there, well, I was happy he made it and did not go into AFib. He’s been told he can no longer participate in strenuous exercise. Of course, the joke is…what in the world will you do when sex becomes strenuous. His answer is that he’s going to die a very happy man. LOL
And two days after this round of Afib, and getting put to sleep, and then being shocked to reset the heart’s electrical signal, it was my 57th birthday. He offered me a day trip, which I gratefully accepted. We made a huge circle. And made it to the Oregon coast. He drove the whole way and never once even looked tired. He’s an amazing man. And though, I know he was not trying to prove anything, on our trip, we stopped in Port Orford at Battle Rock to walk on the beach. The man can’t see a rock that he isn’t trying to climb them. Up and over he went, two days after an episode of Afib. Indeed, life goes on…
Note All images copyright April 23, 2019, Peggy A. Rowe-Snyder. Do not use without prior written permission. These and other High-Resolution shots from this day are available for purchase.