After 14 months of stability, my heart went into V-Fib and I passed out cold on the floor in our kitchen on June 3. It’s always so confusing coming out of unconsciousness and coming to the realization of what has happened. The first word out of mouth this particular day was FUCK! It happened so fast and so randomly.
I was cooking breakfast, it was a Tuesday morning and I felt to the bone tired when I rolled out of bed at 9 a.m. I kept complaining to my husband that I wanted to go back to bed and get more sleep but I had a pottery class that I really wanted to attend so I got going with my day. I was up and down several times to check on the food on the stove and was at the point where I was ready to start putting it in the bowl. I grabbed the oatmeal, separated it into two bowls then I turned around to grab the cinnamon apples from the stove when I felt my heart turn into a jiggly mass of jelly. I let Douglas know I was in distress and at this point, I knew I didn’t have enough time to make it somewhere safe to sit down, so I did what my husband and I have always talked about, I started to get down on the floor. About halfway down, everything faded to black, the next thing I knew, Douglas was standing over me calling my name, I was perched precariously against the cupboards and confused as hell. We weren’t sure if I was shocked or not, it felt like I had been, my upper left chest and armpit felt like the muscles had been zapped and it took Douglas a couple of seconds to get into the kitchen so he thought he had missed it, he called 911.
I stayed on the floor in the kitchen because it was easier, I didn’t have the confidence to stand up and I could feel my heart was still in a whacky rhythm, it was just safer to stay put while Douglas talked to the 911 operator while he waited for the ambulance to arrive at the door. It’s always tight in our small little apartment when we have to call the paramedics, generally, firefighters are the first to arrive, then general paramedics but since this is my heart, they also send a specially trained cardiac team to take over should there be a need. Then there is all the gear and the stretcher, if it weren’t so serious, it would almost be comical, everyone carefully trying to work around each other, our cat, now awake and curious out sniffing at everyone’s heels and getting in the way. While the paramedics are taking my vitals, Douglas is stealthily working his way around the apartment trying to pack a bag of the things he anticipates we will need, he has done this so often, he just scratches items off the list in his head. Finally we are ready to go to the ER.
It’s always a long, long day, the same questions are asked over and over while we wait for someone from Cardiology to arrive. I always have an IV started and I can’t eat or drink anything other than water so we sit and wait, and wait. Finally, sometime mid afternoon I see the Cardiology Resident and he tells me someone will be down with the computer that will read my device so we can see what has happened. A couple of hours go by, the technician arrives, reads the device only to tell me she has to go and get paper so she can print off the event. More time passes, we both just want to go home, why is this taking so long? It’s now dinner time and the headache that was mild a few hours ago is now screaming, my stomach is growling, both of us are getting cranky and I just want to go home. The technician comes back, prints the event and tells me that there was no shock. We are so confused…it’s never happened like this before, why didn’t the device shock me? The information I get is vague at best, they tell me I can go home and that an appointment will be scheduled with my regular Electrophysiologist in the coming weeks. All I can think about is getting something to eat.
I would get my answers a week after the event when I see my doctor. It was one extra beat that started it and sixteen seconds, that was all it took, 16 seconds to turn my heart into jello and take me off my feet. My device was all charged up and ready to go, it would have given me 2 more seconds before hitting my heart with an electrical burst, but for some strange reason, my rhythm corrected on it’s own this time, something it has never done. Some very small consolation, but because of this event, I have lost much of the mental health progress I had made, my confidence is low. When I travel anywhere on transit alone, I look around and wonder which one of the strangers riding the bus with me will help me should I need it. I can’t drive for 6 months. Any hope that I had that our life was getting back to normal is gone and there are so many things we still want to do. Quality of life is nearly non-existant, we wait for the next event unable to take control over this situation.
There is no rhyme or reason to what is happening to me, there are no answers still.