It’s been another off-kilter week for me. Tuesday afternoon I had another episode of SVTs, supra-ventricular tachycardia, where the heart rate jumps suddenly into an excessively fast and irregular heartbeat. It hadn’t happened in years, so I was hopeful that the medication I am on was keeping it regulated. If you have to have some kind of irregular heartbeat, this is probably the easiest one to deal with. What I’ve been advised to do in the past is to wait a bit and try some different measures to get it to “convert,” as they say, back to a normal rhythm, and if that doesn’t work, to go to the emergency room. That’s what I ended up having to do on Tuesday. Thankfully Grandma’s aide was here to take care of her, and Jesse was here to drive me to the hospital. Jim met us over there, and Jason and Mittu came to our house to stay with Grandma after her aide left, and Mittu made dinner for us.
My sister asked me once, “Isn’t it the same as a panic attack?” No, it is a specific type of rhythm that they can actually diagnose from the EKG. It involves the electrical part of the heart and doesn’t mean there is any blockage or any other heart problems (although they do check blood enzymes to make sure I haven’t had a heart attack when this happens.) If it doesn’t “convert” on its own, they give me (or at least they have in the past) something called adenosine through an iv which, as I understand it, actually stops the heart for a second and acts as kind of a reset button. It feels really awful for just a second, and then usually everything goes back to normal. This time, thankfully, it converted before they got to that point, and the different ones in the room at that time jokingly took credit for “scaring it out of” me. They did still take an EKG, chest x-ray, lots of blood work, and kept me for a few hours. For some reason this time my blood pressure was low, so low that they wouldn’t release me until it came up a little. My poor dear husband’s attitude was, “We’ve done this before, we know how it works; when the heart rate converts, everything is fine and we should be able to go home.” 🙂 I felt that way a little, too, but this was the first time it happened since we moved here and the first time to deal with it at this hospital, plus it hadn’t happened in about 6 years, so I didn’t mind being put through the paces as much.
I’m supposed to follow up with my doctor, which I am doing today, and the ER doctor advised referral to a cardiologist. On the one hand, a cardiologist is probably going to say the same thing the cardiologist said when this first started happening: they usually attribute this to an “extra” nerve on the heart, and they fix it by going up through a blood vessel in the groin to the heart and zapping the offending nerve with a laser. Since this hasn’t happened all that often – maybe half a dozen times in the last 15 years – I haven’t been inclined to do that. (Now I am kind of wishing I had done it while we lived in SC, because the cardiologist I saw there was reputed to be “the” expert in the state on electrical issues of the heart). On the other hand, since it has been a while, it might be a good idea to see one here. Though I hadn’t had a full blown episode of SVTs for a while, I have been having more palpitations lately, so I’d like to ask about that (I had mentioned those to my family doctor last visit, and he just said if it kept up we’d take the next step to deal with it.) We’ll see what my family doctor advises today.
One of my prevailing thoughts when this first started on Tuesday, and it looked like I was going to have to go in to the hospital, was that this really wasn’t what I wanted to do that day. I had been inwardly rejoicing that I didn’t have to go anywhere that day, and didn’t have anything that “had” to be done, so I had been looking forward to getting some other things done. Then later in the day I read of a friend’s dad who fell and hurt his head and had to go to the hospital, so, I was reminded that we all have to deal with unexpected events that we’d rather not have to deal with some times (he was ok and was released the same day.)
I was trying to work on a post yesterday concerning a recent attack someone made on homemakers, but I was too fuzzy-brained and it just wasn’t coming together. I have another post in the works about the process we have gone through with Jim’s mom as she has needed different levels of care. When we were first having to think about what to do, there were a couple of blogs dealing with such issues that were helpful to me at the time. Those blogs have gone silent now, but I thought perhaps sharing our experiences might help others with older parents. It’s turning out to be rather long, though, so I might have to break it up into parts. But hopefully if available time and working brain cells come together at the same time, I’ll be able to finish those posts soon. 🙂