The afib chronicles

Since you didn’t ask… The latest on my fluttering, fibrillating, mildly f’ed-up heart…

I had the strangest business meeting of my career (or probably of those with whom I was meeting) today. I was having a great time with Matt Mullenweg and Toni Schneider of WordPress sitting in the ritzy Peninsula Hotel lobby (fear not, investors, they weren’t staying there; this was Tony Conrad‘s idea for a venue). And suddenly I started feeling faint — which never happens to me, not even when my blog host is down — and I had to tell the guys what was happening just in case I passed out. I told them in email later that I’ve never done that before, not even as a negotiating tactic (though it could be a good idea, eh?). Hypochondriac that I am, I called the doctor. I’d taken a big fall this morning and being on blood thinners, my fears raced to internal bleeding and all kinds of nasty scenarios. The nurse said that I’d just have a black & blue butt. I had water and got out in the fresh air and was fine. It seems my pulse was just slow. And my embarrassment high. But I’m very grateful to Matt and Toni for bearing with me at that most odd moment.

Damn, I can’t wait to get back to normal. And that wonderful day is now scheduled for March 6, after I return from a business trip to Europe and my blood is as thin as clear Japanese soup. I met with my new doctor yesterday and found kismet. We have a plan: I’ll stay on thinners until I get zapped on the 6th, then I’ll up my antiarrythmic medication, Rhythmol. If that doesn’t hold me, I will get me to the electrical socket within 48 hours, so I don’t have to go through this routine again and I won’t bore you with it. And then we’ll talk about ablating the nerves in the heart that are causing this (a procedure I wouldn’t have considered two weeks ago but now it sounds like an island vacation) and I’m starting to look into doctors to do that (starting with the Cleveland Clinic).

  • EverKarl

    I guess I can’t take another vacation without something bad happening to you! Sorry to hear about the afib; do what you need to do to get well!

  • Best wishes, good luck, and get well! I hope nobody really complains about you posting this stuff.

  • pcomeau

    Good Luck… Post open heart surgery last year I got to go through an EP “study”. Turns out I didn’t need ablation. But, even with the sedative, it was a very boring 3 hours on the table.

    Hope all goes well for you!

  • Mumblix Grumph

    Good luck. I’ve been there. When I had mine done, they didn’t give me any sedative. They wanted me nice and nervous. More likely to have palapitations, I guess.

    The pre-operative groin shave was a suprise. I’m sure the bald six-foot four orderly was enjoying it as much as I was. (and rethinking his career choice)

    I was on the table in the BRIGHT operating room for about three hours. They had on an oldies radio station. During the procedure I started to wonder if I was going to die, and if I did, what would be the last song I ever heard. I prayed that it wouldn’t be MACARTHUR PARK by Richard Harris. (it wasn’t).

    While I was in the OR, looking at all the high-tech equipment including a real-time scan of my heart with 6 electrodes in it I had an epiphanic thought…Western Civilization KICKS ASS!

    Anyway…they took care of everything and after an overnight stay at the hospital I was sent home and that was the end of all that. No more meds, and no more stutter-step heartbeats.

    You’ll be fine.

  • hope all goes well, Jeff, and be warned by Mumblix to put in your request for music worth listening to for a few hours well in advance.

  • Looks like you’re getting good care. I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

    Speaking of afib, GHW Bush was subsequently diagnosed with Graves’ disease (autoimmune [a term considered inaccurate now] hyperthyroidism) after the discovery of his irregularly irregular heart rhythm.

    Last June, you mentioned that you were s/p 50% thyroidectomy. Just curious if there was a connection.

  • Gray

    Jeff, this sounds alarming. You really need to take better care of yourself. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to do exhausting travels right now.

    And it’s not your health alone that’s at stake. I need your stories to keep my (normally too low) blood pressure up! I hope you get better soon.

  • Jeepers, Jeff! there’d be a huge sucking sound if you left the blogosphere (and teaching) now. and at a time like this, there’s no such thing as being a “hypochondriac.” Take good care of yourself–we don’t want to have to say goodbye!

  • Thanks, all. I’m fine. Just clumsy and embarrassed.

  • John Fullerton

    A-Fib ablation is what we do everyday. At Shands at U of Fla. in Gainesville. I work for and have the deepest respect for Dr. Mario Gonzalez who is a most caring, honest and accomplished electrophysiology practitioner.
    Go see him. JF

  • Trent

    Hope everything goes well, Jeff. I’m a 27 year old male, and I’ve been having chest pains for the last week. It feels like someone is squeezing my heart. I went to the doctor today, and pretty much everything seemed normal….except my resting heart rate is 116. Doc seems to think it’s probably some other cause (maybe thyroid acting up?) that will clear itself up with some meds. Chest XRays didn’t show any blockages or problems. EKG was a little abnormal, but nothing too out there.

    I know how un-fun it can be to worry about your heart. Hope this turns out OK for you.

  • That’s cool you’re blogging about this. Might help other people who are dealing w/similar stuff, and it’s educational for folks who aren’t.

    Keep us updated, and take care of yourself.

  • Glad to hear they weren’t actually staying at the Peninsula!!!

    Seriously, good luck with the heart stuff. If you ever are looking for another doc/2d opinion etc. let us know!

  • Peg T G

    Hi Jeff and friends:
    I’m curious about meds for A-fib. I was diagnosed Sept. 05. and put on blood thinner and Rhythmol. It didn’t keep my heart in sinus rhythm and so I’ve had 3 cardioversions (mini shocks to heart). I remained “out of sync.” They’re talking about ablation but decided to try one more med – Tikosyn. This stuff is strong!!! I had to spend 3 days in hospital to begin it (drug loading is what they call it). There are so many very scary Warnings. It’s taken 2x day and can cause a different, more dangerous arrithmia or even death.

    I don’t know what they (or I for doing it – didn’t see all the warnings until after) were thinking. This is too scary for me. I’m thinking of telling my docs to take me off and then leave me alone. I’m traveling to Ireland for vaca in a couple of months and don’t know if I’ll be safe. (This med is so new, the paperwork says if you go to hospital for some other reason, they may not have this med so take your own.) Does anyone have info on this?