It was a dark and stormy night….well actually it was early evening and the weather was colder than an ice cube family reunion. I was sitting on the couch and I feel my heart suddenly going crazy. Did I sit on an Epipen again? Was something extra exciting going on? Nope. I wonder what it was. Maybe I’m dying. Yep. That has to be it. I asked my wife to pause the episode of whatever it was we were watching, I grabbed her hand and said, “Feel this. Does this seem right?” I put her hand on my chest. Sure enough my heart was pounding a mile a minute.
We make our way to the friendly Emergency room. My beautiful wife drops me off to go park the car and I go in solo. I walk up to the window and the nice nurse asks,”What’s wrong with you” or something much nicer. I tell her my heart is pounding out of my chest. Her eyes open wide and she gives me a clipboard to fill out a form.
“Why are you here today?” “Because I’m dying”
The nice nurse came out into the waiting room where I met some new friends. A nice gentleman groaning and staring at the floor, and Mr. Smells-like-Vomit. Nice people.
The nice nurse took my blood pressure and pulse right then and there in the waiting room and then disappeared back into the mysterious world behind the “No Admittance” door. Whimsical.
I’ve noticed that I’ve never had faster service in an ER like when I’ve had chest pain. Before I knew it, another nice nurse came out and asked me to follow her. My wife and I went with her to the frolicking world of Bay 1.
I took my shirt off, by request.
I was then swarmed by people speaking in tongues.
They placed hair-removing stickers on my chest. Maybe two or three hundred of them total.
Before I knew it, I had an IV in my arm, a not-so-calm beeping sound, and a doctor there letting me know she was shutting off the alarm on the heart-beaty-thing-a-ma-jig. That’s comforting. My condition is so far into the “We need a thing to alert us of this condition” zone that they no longer need the alert.
After much discussion amongst the staff there, they ask me to bear down really hard to try to “reset” my heart. That didn’t work. Shoot!
They came back to give me some medicine that would reset my heart for me. It was like a two part shot given in rapid succession. I thought of it like mixing fast setting epoxy. Timing is everything. The doctor explained that this will feel like a donkey kicked me in the chest. It is very unpleasant. OK. I don’t have a lot of options, so bring on the donkey. So they ask my wife to step out of fabulous Bay 1. That’s when I know “unpleasant” is an understatement. They don’t make your spouse leave to put an IV in your arm or rip off the hair removal pads dotting my furry chest. Nope. But for THIS, she had to leave. My interest was piqued now. How bad can this be? Obviously really painful. Then I look over to the doctor who was prepping the happy zappy paddles. I asked if those were just a precaution or was this part of the unpleasantness. Precaution. WHEW!
The nurses administer the epoxy mix of chemicals into my bloodstream. A second later I feel the onset of heartburn and I hear,”OK, here it is” and then the sensation is gone and I look to the doctor and ask, “Is that it?”. The doctor confirmed that the worst was over and then she went to retrieve my worried wife. My wife later told me that on the walk from the waiting room back to Bay 1, the doctor said something like,”Usually people don’t take that as well as your husband did.”
The meds did their trick and my heart went back into a normal rhythm. I am one lucky dog.
The doctor later told me it was considered “SVT”. I had no idea what that meant, so I looked it up later that night and did quite a bit of reading. Welcome to the world of Supraventricular Tachycardia. The adventure begins.