Sunday, July 27 I woke up feeling pretty good, I was almost 2 months away from my latest heart event and I was finally, for the most part, free from the pain I had been experiencing since I tweaked my lower back earlier in the week. I made breakfast, showered and then we headed out. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I was definitely grateful to be on the move.
It had been really hot and uncharacteristically humid in Vancouver in the days leading up to Sunday, July 27 and I had been doing a really great job of avoiding being outside when it was at it’s hottest so, after our errands, we headed home to our apartment to stay out of the heat. We had a bite of lunch and then settled in to read while we were listening to music. We live close to the ocean and there was a nice cool breeze blowing through the apartment, I was enjoying the moment and thinking about all the things that I have to be grateful for, then they started.
It was 2 pm, the alarm I had set on my phone to tell me it was time to take my medication started to chime, immediately I started having some really hard palpitations. I stayed put, hoping it would pass, it didn’t, the just got more intense. Suddenly, I felt my heart start to race, I began to feel faint, my heart felt like jiggling jello in my chest, it was pumping so fast, eventually, with no blood in the chambers to pump, I started to fade to black, there is always so little warning.
When I came back to consciousness, Douglas was standing over me with the phone in his hand, it always takes me some time to come to the realization of what has happened, I was devastated. I had also bit down really hard on my tongue during the shock, it was really sore and I could taste blood. The paramedics arrived pretty fast, I was still having all kinds of palpitations to the point that there were a few times I thought I was going to shut down again but I didn’t. By the time we got down to the lobby of our building the special cardiac unit had arrived and they took me to the hospital, my heart was still in a crazy rhythm, I could feel it and my anxiety was high each time it jumped. The ER was busy, there were all kinds of stretchers littering the hallway, but because of the nature of my problem, a bed was found quickly, in no time I was having blood drawn, being whisked away for a chest xray, blood pressure, urine sample, temperature and hooked up to the heart monitor so the paramedics could leave. It all happens so quickly, then we sit and wait. This time was actually one of our shorter stays, within a couple of hours an Electrophysiologist showed up with a terminal to read my device so they could see what had happened. He was surprised when I told him this was the 30th time I had been shocked in just over 2 years. It even surprises me that I have been able to endure what I have been through, but it has become my life. Our life, it affects Douglas as much as it does me, he has had to see someone he loves die over and over again only to be brought back to life by a metal device that shocks her heart. If I weren’t living it, it would be really hard to comprehend.
After all was said and done, I was discharged early evening. All blood results were perfect as were all other test results, my heart had settled down and I mustered up the courage to leave the safe haven of the hospital to walk home with my beloved and cook some dinner. All I can do is sit and wait for the next time, and every day that goes by without an event is a good one. Do I feel down? Of course I do, it’s really hard getting over this time and time again. Am I going to let it keep me down? No, I have to be brave and carry on with my life despite the anxiety and fear that I live with each and every minute of each and every day. I would love nothing more than to have a solution to this that will give me back my life and my mental health, but I am not sure when that will happen…until then I can only do the best I can to deal with the situation I am in. It’s tough.