DadThing has been filled with stories about Ace’s firsts. From his first step to his first night with no bottle.
However, something happened this weekend that was a first for me. It was not nearly as happy a time as when Ace rolled over for the first time. I spent my first ever night in the hospital.
I have had a problem with my heart since I was in junior high school, but no doctor could ever tell me what it was. I have had multiple EKGs, Echoes, stress tests, you name it…and they all come back normal. I swear the doctors thought I was making stuff up.
Ya see, sometimes, especially when I exert myself, my heart goes crazy. It beats really hard and with no real rythym. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to pass out and I almost always have to sit down until my heart calms down a bit. Usually I can get it to stop within 10 minutes or so with some techniques I have discovered over the years, but not Saturday night. After about 3 hours I drove myself to the emergency room.
I did not feel bad. There was no pain, I did not feel faint or anything. I just knew that something was not right. I walked up to the ER receptionist and told her that I would like to be seen for a rapid and irregular heart beat. She took my name and social security number and I immediately went back for an EKG.
The nurse doing the EKG seemed very urgent and I immediately went into triage to have my vitals checked. My blood pressure was high and my heart rate was 180 beats per minute. A normal heart rate is around 70 beats per minute. Yikes! The triage nurse, said “Wait right here. You are next to be seen.”
I did not pass GO, did not collect $200, and went directly to an ER bed where I was immediately stuck with an IV, had X-Rays, and then lied there for a few hours hoping the medicine would make my heart beat normally. The urgency of everyone in the ER was kind of frightening.
This has been happening to me for over 15 years now and I had become used to living with it, but I guess it really was something serious…atrial fibrillation.
About 6 hours later I was admitted to the hospital. After another 4 hours of lying in the hospital bed hooked to heart monitors a nurse rushed in my room as she yelled into her phone, “I need an EKG STAT!!” I thought that something bad had happened. I thought my heart had really gone crazy and I was in trouble…
However, she then looked at me and smiled. “You converted!!” My heart beat had converted back to a normal sinus rhythm. This was a good thing because if the medicine did not convert me, they would have had to shock my heart with the paddles….while I was awake and alert.
I had to stay in the hospital for another day in observation to make sure that my heart did not go back into atrial fibrillation again, and to also make sure I did not have a stroke (a side effect of being in atrial fibrillation for an extended period of time).
Momma brought Ace in to visit me and I will never forget the look on his face when he saw my lying there in that hospital bed. He was confused and scared at the same time. After he realized that I was OK, he did grab my finger and we took a few laps around the observation unit. Ace pulling me, and me pulling an IV. The little old ladies and the nurses got a kick out of him taking Daddy for a walk.
So now I am back home, with no restrictions, and a little different out look on life. I have cut caffeine out of my diet. Once I have that under control, smoking is next.
I can’t live like there is no tomorrow anymore. There are a few people in this world that count on me being there…and I’m going to do my part to make sure that happens.