Saturday, January 29, 2011

The firing squad

Well - I can now say I've joined a new club - AICD firing squad.

I was racing after a 12-hour day to the subway when I checked the monitor at the station entrance and it occurred to me that I missed my train home. At 9:01pm I got the first of 4 shocks. The next came maybe 15-20 seconds later & the next (and hardest) was maybe 30 seconds and the last one perhaps another 20 seconds. The joules discharged were 17,17, 31, 17.

A kind homeless woman called 911 thinking I had a heart attack. She even went upstairs to guide the EMTs to me. Thanking her was not enough. She deserves a medal. Was taken to the local hospital as my EKG kept tabletopping and not showing spikes. I figured, I missed my train, had no ride home so why not! They kept me there for 2 nights to watch the enzyme levels spike & go down. They also changed my settings to a higher threshold. I felt fine, enjoyed the clean sheets & sponge baths for a change. I will say that there is nothing and I mean NOTHING worse than hospital food when you’re a cardiac patient. They automatically put you on no salt (despite my incredible low blood pressure and flawlessly clean arteries), Everything tastes like paste.

My other Bionics were interested in the gory details (its how we learn) so I’ve shared the following:

My settings were low as my HR never, and I mean never, gets above 125. My EP has also re-verifies it each time I'm in as they usually set it low after installing it & see what the usual max HR is and adjust accordingly. Mine was never reset. And I've done tons of stadium stairs, Gym & hours of cardio, not to mention the single father of 3 young men (17,21,24) who have been known to test my threshold. My device WAS set to monitor @ 150, Fire @ 170 and I'm sure they don't just look at the HR, but the Quality and Dynamics of the beat.

I was awake. I slumped (fell?) against a wall backside-first with the second shock. Didn't see any bright lights or hear any sounds. Honestly, it felt like a kick to the chest - not so much painful, as shocking (mild pun intended). This truly happened just as I realized I missed my train. I didn't realize it at first then a second or so later thought - "Geez, this might have been a . . . BAM" second shock. I tried to gain composure and mentally calm myself down and lower my HR, but I guess this action releases adrenaline and that kind of makes it difficult. The third one caught me just after an exhale so this scared me a bit, but I realized I really needed to gain control and I eventually slipped below the discharge threshold. The fourth was as I was trying to dial my kids, I gave up till the paramedics arrived. No pain afterwards, just mild disgust having to deal with this (the past 7-10 days have not been the best).

I think one of the weirdest thing is having to relive this every time I pass that monitor! The last two days I'm doing my usual "brisk walk" to the station and descend the 2 flights down via stairs and I get the most un-nerving feeling as enter that portal. I guess its partly PTSD, which is understandable (and I'm not making light of those who do suffer with it). I guess time will heal. I'm also keeping an eye out for my angel !

In retrospect, I'm glad I got to experience this as I'll be better prepared for the next one. The same going in for my Myectomy - I felt so much better by learning from others that I wasn't scared & understood everything. I hope this helps others, as I'd like to put it behind me now and get on with enjoying life.

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