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sat 14 jul 01 :: discuss :: permalink :: lastmod = pst

well, folks, it's time to come clean. i don't like harping on my own problems, but my postings have been uneven enough that some folks have been asking what's going on. so i'll fess up.

three weeks ago, after our hike up to nambe lake, i began to notice a funny feeling in the top of my stomach, right behind the breast bone. didn't think anything of it; seemed to go away when i ate. at some point, i decided to feel my pulse in my neck ... and to my shock and surprise ... my heart was skipping beats. i'll make a long story short; i've been to see an internist, had an ekg, then a holter monitor (they strap a device on you for 24 hours). the holter monitor results just came in, and i'm having over 1000 premature ventricular contractions a day, sometimes more than 30 an hour.

sandra and i had already booked the next six days in las vegas to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, [which is today]; that's now shot to hell. we can't go, because i'm lined up for a blood test and a stress echocardiogram.

the worst part is, the doctors tell me "don't do any heavy exercise" one minute, then they tell me "oh, it's not that serious. probably benign" the next. they're driving me crazy. in the meantime, i'm now aware of the strange beats my heart is making, and frankly, it scares me to death. sometimes it feels like my whole body pauses, waiting for that beat to kick back in after the skip. best thing to do is do something that shifts my attention away from the heartbeat ... and that's what i'm trying to do today.

[for those medically inclined, my bp is low (110/78), the only history of heart disease in the family is in association with high blood pressure and cholesterol, and possibly a history of thyroid on one side of the family. resting ekg showed normal rhythm. the holter was where they saw the 'dropped' beats. the blood tests on monday are looking at cholesterol, lipids and thyroid specifically. the stress ecg, i plan to break the machine. i'm not in my usual fighting shape, but what better place to push the limits than an office with six cardiologists? i might even take a photo or two and post 'em. anyone curious?]

so instead of having a rip-roaring tenth wedding anniversary at the bellagio in las vegas ... and getting to visit blivet and co., we'll be going to some restaurant here in santa fe. haven't made up our minds yet. i know, i know ... many would kill to have a nice dinner in santa fe. but we live here, and this is 'normal'. it's like going down to your local corner diner for a celebratory dinner. it lacks that 'special' feel. we can't help being a little depressed. but we're doing our utmost to change that perception into a positive one, re-imagining our upcoming vacation as even better ... because i'll have a clean bill of health!

so, faithful readers, that is why my postings have been rather inconsistent of late. i'll advise you all not to worry; according to statistics, 60% of males in my 'age group' have these kinds of skipped beats, and never notice them. i'm having more than normal, hence the other tests required. could be electrolytes, could be thyroid ... could be just a whacky heart, and i've always had it but never noticed until moving to high altitude. it may not even need medication. but we have to test to be sure. i still plan to climb wheeler peak up in taos, highest point in new mexico. but i want to know that i'm not going to drop dead doing it.

the skipping beats are more noticeable when i'm sitting at a computer than anywhere else. so i'm not posting as often. i'm not going on 'hiatus', you'll see postings here. it just may not be as 'deep' as you're used to, being that my mind is somewhat preoccupied.

so i'll keep you all posted as things happen. blood test on monday, stress ecg sometime soon (the cardio's have to book me yet). the waiting game; i hate it. maybe it's from working on the 'net ... i want instant diagnosis, instant cure.

and now, off we go to try to salvage our anniversary ... see you all tomorrow.