Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fun With Fibrillation

I woke up Friday morning with an irregular heartbeat and after spending what was basically a full workday’s length of time in the ER the other night (which sadly was better than spending it in my office), I still have one. I wasn’t too happy about it until I realized how much fun it added to work yesterday, especially since you can hear my heart beating because my artificial valve makes a ticking sound.

As the morning went on, I began to feel more Fibrillilly (my term only, not a sanctioned medical term…yet). When I got to work, I poured myself a cup of coffee, which proved very quickly to be a mistake. Well, that’s what I thought at first. My heart began to race and beat in every rhythm imaginable. For a while, it was actually providing the beat to ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ which I thought was pretty cool. When I was ready to hear a different song, I poured a second cup. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize the tune. A coworker pointed out that it was distantly reminiscent of ‘Live and Let Die.’

I was able to use the fact that my valve ticks to enlighten those that I work with about a-fib, without telling a fib (I’ve been working on that line for three days, sorry). I asked everyone if they had ever heard an irregular heartbeat before and most of them had not (well, all of them except Female Coworker because she always has to be different). Sure it was a little awkward every time someone walked up and saw one of my male or even female coworkers with their head against my chest as they listened and sure it was strange asking someone I work with to put their head against my chest (perhaps because I was singing it). It was all worth it though when I could see the surprise on their faces as they heard my heart tick away to ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ or whatever beat happened to be uh, beating. I just it explained to people not in our department that we are a very close team. The looks they gave me lead me to believe they didn’t buy it.

The fibrillation also has benefits that I didn’t anticipate. If I was running a little behind on getting something completed, I could just say that my heart was causing me to take a little longer. I’ll admit that it’s a lame excuse, but sometimes you’ve just got to go with the horse that got you there and for yesterday at least, it worked. By my count, I am already up to three different days with follow up doctor’s appointments, which will keep me out of the office for a few extra hours. It’s odd, my coworkers have told me that they find themselves more efficient when I am out of the office. I’m puzzled as to why. Oh, remind me to tell you about how I kept calling the cell phone of a coworker while he was in the office yesterday after Female Coworker told me she didn’t like his ringtone. Now where was I? That’s right, I was pondering why my coworkers feel they can get more done when I am not around. What’s up with that? They’re the ones always asking me for help. Maybe I could be more efficient without them.

The only downside at work yesterday was when it began to get really hot and stuffy in the office after we got back from lunch. I had to go around to everyone’s cubicle to see if they felt hot or if it was just something I was feeling because of the irregular heartbeat (although looking back, I guess just asking one person would have sufficed). It turns out it wasn’t me, even though I had to discover this by asking the office manager to check the thermostat. Apparently, my coworkers thought it would be fun, despite their perspiring, to tell me that they were actually a little chilly so the air must be working and it was only me. It got a little rough later in the afternoon when my heart rate really started climbing. I didn’t feel too good and Female Coworker felt that my color had changed. I asked if it changed like a Gecko might change it’s color to match their surroundings and she just stormed off. I’m not very fashion conscious, but I would hate to be the vomitty-like color of my cubicle walls. I do however find it comforting to know that if something had happened to me I could count on the people I spend more time with than my family. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, very, very sarcastic.

The fibrillation fun continued when I got home. Every time I stood up or bent over it was like my own little amusement park ride. The sensation of lightheadedness is really quite underrated. Everything turns to white and you feel like you’re spinning a little. I would pay for the thrill, really I would. I wouldn’t pay much, but I’d be willing to pay something. I think people also under appreciate how much fun it is to say the word lightheadedness. It’s also fun to type because it just doesn’t feel like you’re ever spelling it correctly.

Perhaps the best benefit of all came when it was time to tell Lucy and Ethel that they had watched enough TV for the evening (like that’s possible…it’s obviously not a rule I came up with). After defining the word evening for them, I told them they could listen to my chest if they wanted. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially when I told them I accidentally inhaled a cricket at work. After explaining the word cricket to them, we sat and reproduced the rhythm with our hands. Little kids sure are easy to entertain. Everyone says that they see where the twins get their child-like sense of wonder. I’m trying not to be offended by that, but I wish everyone would stop laughing when they say it.

So there you have it, even though it can be very uncomfortable, raise the risk of stroke and make my morning walks or runs feel like a game of Russian Roulette, you can have fun with fibrillation. Although my doctors don’t want to do it to me again, there is a way to correct it. I’d tell you about it, but it’s just shocking. Seriously, it’s just shocking. That’s all it is…shocking.


Disclaimer: No blogger was injured in the preparation of this post. But he did get to leave work a little early.

37 comments:

mist1 said...

Fibrillilly sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

Patti said...

Please take care, Michael. You are scaring me and I'm sure many others.

At least you can entertain Lucy and Ethel without even trying.
;-)

Awesome Mom said...

I hope that your heart gets back to it's crazy normalness soon.

Jenny! said...

Does your heart take requests???

Odat said...

Vomit-like color???? Doesn't it depend on what one eats to determine the color of vomit? So your office walls are like a chameleon?

Peace

Michael C said...

Mist: I seriously debated describing myself has feeling something with 'illy' in it.

Patti: I'll be fine, physically at least ;-)

Awesome Mom: Thanks!

Jenny!: Yes I do, but depending on the tune I made need a certain amount of sugar and/or caffeine first.

Odat: Uh-oh, it's a chameleon and not a Gecko that changes its colors, isn't it? Oops!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

did you get any good drugs michael? that lightheadedness (ha ha) anything like = oh never mind, i'm too old anyway!

smiles, bee

captain corky said...

"Apparently, my coworkers thought it would be fun, despite their perspiring, to tell me that they were actually a little chilly so the air must be working and it was only me".

The Bastards! You owe them a good one for this gag.

Glad you're good now.

FRIGGA said...

Funny, in a slightly scary kind of way.

The Rock Chick said...

You are most definitely a "make lemonade" type of person! I like that!!

I wish we had people like you at my office. It would make the day go by much faster-hey, "Name That Tune" is one of my favorite games!!

Hope you're feeling well!

Jessica The Rock Chick

kat said...

I don't know - all your fibrillousness makes me very nervous. But I was laughing through the entire post at various things - thank you for cheering me up. Your writing has that tendency.

Do you have a stethescope? I have one. I always use it on my dogs. Maybe if you brought that to work you and your co-workers wouldn't look so Lifetime For Women everytime other departments walked by.

Erica AP said...

Man... I hope you are ok. My heart flutters all the time but I'm pretty sure it's just anxiety. Hooray for anxiety!!! :) Feel better, soon.

Michael C said...

Empress: Noo good drugs, just more of the same old ones at higher doses.

Captain: I'll get them somehow, trust me.

Frigga: Yeah, I'll take the funny part though.

Rock Chick: Wow, thanks. Lemonade sounds really good right now!

Kat: I'm glad you cheered up a little and I love the word fibrillousness. It's much better than the one I came up with.

I'm afraid if I got a stethoscope I would never get anything else accomplished ;-) Then it would only be a matter of time until I start using it on safes and stuff like that.

Erica: Anxiety is a lot better than the gig I got goin' on!

C said...

I cannot imagine how that must feel. Sounds a little scary to me but you seem to think it was fun.

Michael C said...

C: It feels like a baby is kicking in your chest...although I don't know what a baby's kick actually feels like.

AndreAnna said...

Glad you're feeling better. I'm on a blood pressure medication that makes me lightheaded everytime I bed at the knees and then stand up. I do NOT like it but the white light you speak of and I know each other well.

Take care of yourself!

Ralph said...

This only proves that you are not heartless...Perhaps a change to decaf would be in order

Michael C said...

AndreAnna: Let's make it a verb and refer to it as 'white lighting it.' I'll use it in a sentence: I tried to wash my truck tonight, but I was 'white lighting' it the whole way ;-)

Ralph: I may be headed towards the exciting land of caffeine and sugar free.

Terri said...

very glad you are okay; forget about you how in the world does your wife cope? (now you know I don't really mean that, but seriously I would be a basketcase!). Glad you are okay, at least the music making is a nice side effect.

Michael C said...

Terri: She's pretty used to it by now, actually we both are. Plus I sedate her heavily. Ok, Ok, I AM making that up ;-)

Just telling it like it is said...

Micheal C. While I know that hearing the galope, might not be music to everyones ears it is a miracle to mine..and I have shocked someone with 300 J, but gave them fently and verse which helped them convert back and helped with the pain, but I have seen Dr.'s live with A-fib for a long long time...your choice but I would see a good Cardiologist that teaches so that he has a resident that is up to date on the latest and the greatest...I hope you do not drink any more caffine, and take it easy you still got more writting years left...to read my blog...who esle is going to leave me funny comments and tolerate nmy penis stories!!!

Michael C said...

Just Telling: Thanks! I know I can't have ablation because of the condition of my heart, so I see my cardiologist Monday to see what we might do. I'm trying to cut back on the caffeine, which has been very, very hard to do ;-)

If I had been cardioverted Friday, I would have joined the double digit club for being cardioverted. Is there a club for that? If so, I'm sorry I didn't get in this time around ;-)

Jay said...

Jason has a very odd heart beat (and we can hear it outside his body too, especially after, um, physical exertion). It's creepy. My heart goes abnormal too, but not for those prolonged periods. That sounds seriously troubling. If nothing else, it would be a major distraction! You hardly notice your heart beat until it does something weird.

If I gave you a quarter, could I choose my own song?
Maybe you could organize an office karaoke party?

Tiggerlane said...

It's weird how you make this sound funny!

My husband has the same problem - but it freaks me out. I can't lay with my head on his chest, b/c I'm afraid his heart is going to give out at any second. And I as a musician, the rhythm is just DISTURBING.

Michael C said...

Jay: Sure, a quarter will buy you 2 songs!

Tiggerlane: Thanks for stopping by! I can't stand to have my wife put her head on my chest. Weight on my chest seems to magnify the ticking and the irregular beats.

Abigail S said...

Hope all is getting, and staying, better!

Sorry for the long absence! W/ summer starting, I'll have lots of time to blog! Awesome!

Just telling it like it is said...

That's okay Micheal C. I am sorry I am facinated by the heart an some of the people with conditions of your sorts have really amazed me at the determination and love for life...I feel the goodness in you...keep me up to date I am a nosey bugger...but I mean well...and I understand not getting the cardio convert it is not for everyone...The heart is an amazing organ...the thing about it is that it really is effected by the sole of the person..for what ever reason this was given to you your a talented writer and I always enjoy your postings!!!

Michael C said...

Abigail: Welcome back, stranger!

Just Telling: Thanks, that's very kind and I hope you keep visiting my blog. Woo Hoo, I know a medical expert!!!!!
;-)

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I know how they fix it, other than lots of medicine. My dad had that done when I was in 7th grade. His A-Fib was fine after that until late 2005-early 2006 and they attempted to treat it with medicine...which did not work to well obviously!

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