Since I’m boring you with my afib chronicles, I should give you an update: I’m still in fibrillation but feeling much better thanks to being on a beta blocker, Toprol, which slows my heart rate and makes stairs once again no big deal.
I fired my cardiologist at the start of this episode. I’d had a great doctor — let’s call him Doc A — who, sadly, left practice to take a corporate job — some of the greatest talents in medicine can’t take the hassle, tragically — and ended up with this doctor — let’s call him Doc B — whom I didn’t much like. He wouldn’t consult directly with me; I think he should have zapped me immediately but by waiting past a magical 48 hour mark I had to endure an expensive and failed procedure and now I’m stuck in afib and on various unfortunate drugs for a month with a greater risk of clots and strokes; he took me off Toprol though Doc A had said I should take it as needed and he did so without explanation; when I tried to get a second opinion, he came and confronted me, which didn’t do wonders for my heart rate. I’m now with another doctor — Doc C — and he has been great because he not only explains and consults with me but he put me back on Toprol, which has ended my tachycardia (rapid heart beat). I lost a week’s work on the couch because of the debilitating effect of that tachycardia, but now I can move around and it’s a great relief.
I think I may just rate these doctors.
Because the risk of afib is blood clots, I’m now on blood thinner and have to go to the doctors’ offices to get my blood checked often. Before the procedure I had the other day, I didn’t have enough of the stuff in my blood; now I have too much. They told me not to take the pill last night and ordered me to eat broccoli, kale, or spinach to counteract the drug. I said I was going to a business dinner with one menu and had no idea what they’d be serving. I got a stern look from the nurse: Eat your kale, young man. Well, it so happens that the veggie last night was broccoli. I hate broccoli. But I was a good boy. Now I’m going back to the doc’s to get pricked again.
Now I may complain about a particular doctor or the inconvenience of some treatment, but let me make clear that I’m grateful to live in an age of miracles and knowledge, when these things can be treated. So I don’t want to seem ungrateful wishing that the counteracting agent to that drug were beer.
Well, the Frankenstein procedure didn’t work. I’m not suggesting that anybody should care about the details of this and I feel rather like an old folk in the home telling you the details of my complaints, but I said I’d chronicle this: After putting me out and putting a sonogram wand down my gullet, they found that I may have a clot and so they did not zap me because they don’t want that clot freed up by a newly efficient heart, doing mischief in the bloodstream. So I stay on anticlotting drugs for a month (no football for me) and then they will zap me again. That’s the long and the short of it. I’m fine, just still pissed.
I’m operating a half-throttle because the ol’ distributor cap is still acting up. Not that anyone should care — and some may say this is too much transparency, but, hey, it’s a blog. And I’ve received such wonderful wishes and suggestions from so many of you. So here’s the latest on my fibrillation saga: I’m alternating between fibrillation (arythmia) and tachycardia (fast heart rate), which makes stairs sisyphusian. But otherwise this is nothing but an inconvenience; certainly, there are countless worse afflictions. I’m on blood thinners (gaining new respect for diabetics with needles) so that Wednesday, they can shove a tube down my throat (to make sure I don’t have blood clots) and then zap me (CLEAR!) with DC voltage (I can imagine a few who’d want to pull that switch!). I’ll come out with two shaved, sunburned spots on the chest and, ConEd willing, restored rhythm. I’ll give you the update.
I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes get atrial fibrillation — irregular heart rhythm — and it has struck again, lasting longer this time than usual. As I write this, a convention of Mexican jumping beans is staging a revolt somewhere south of my sternum. I had to give a big presentation last night and otherwise function as a normal person in the last 48 hours with this going on inside. It’s quite possible to do so, just weird.
I got the condition in a chain of events from 9/11: I got pneumonia from inhaling the cloud of destruction at the World Trade Center and when doctors tested my lungs, they spritzed something in there that unleashed my until-then-blocked betas. Every time it has struck, the doctors have given me different rules and treatment. This time, I’m giving myself shots in my stomach: Yes, I am rabid. And other fun awaits.
But here’s the strange part: Four out of the last seven or so times I’ve commuted through the PATH station at the World Trade Center, my heart has gone wacky. Three of those times, it calmed down and returned to normal rhythm within five minutes or so. This last time, it hasn’t calmed down. I can’t figure out what the connection to the WTC is. No, it’s not post-traumatic stress disorder; I’ve been commuting through that station without incident or upset since they reopened it. I almost wonder whether the construction they’ve begun has unleashed some odd chemical, but I doubt that. It’s just wacky.
Anyway, this — and work — is why you’ve seen a relative paucity of posting in recent days. I’m working at home today, so you’ll be stuck hearing more from me later.