PVCs- Not Just for Plumbing

Recently, I visited one of my favorite people, Kate. She had broken her hip and was recouping at home, so I played the italian friend and brought lasagna. We got to talking and basically, we laughed over the irony that I write a blog, as I am a relatively private person (she really should be a therapist). I don't let many people into my inner sanctum. Neither does my daughter. Neither does my Mom. But once you're in, you're pretty much stuck, however. Yet here I am sharing my thoughts publicly every week. As Alanis Morissette would incorrectly say about irony: it's like rain on your wedding day.

As I sat down to write this week, I was laughing about our conversation. I was also trying to figure out what to write about. I have one blog nearly done, but after the week I've had, I could not finish it. There is only one thing on my mind. It's all consuming. Literally, it is all I can think about, as it's with me constantly. So, without further ado, I am steeling myself to share some very personal scoop. No, it's not sex. It's my health. Breathe...

On 9/11, my heart kept racing. It felt like anxiety, which isn't very surprising; it was an emotional day. I even took half a Xanax, something I do only when flying, so you know I was freaking out. It didn't do a damn thing.

All week this went on.

Friday, I'd had enough. I asked Scott to listen to my heart because it would be going all berzerker on me while relaxing, reading, or  knitting yet another scarf, but then be fine when I was active.  He listened. Silence. Then "Woah! Your heart just skipped a beat!" "What!?!" I denied. I then felt my pulse while we discussed and bam- no beat. OK, that's it. ER time.

I am having PVCs- and not the pipes used in plumbing. Premature Ventricular Contractions (which sounds like something during labor!) I have never heard of these before, but they are very common. You've even probably had them. I've been getting them in waves, mostly when idle. Like when trying to sleep. It's SO fun trying to drift off and your heart feels like Desi Arnaz playing babaloo. What I don't like is that not only can I feel them, but when the wave comes, I'm breathless. I breathe like the 'Malcolm in the Middle' kid when they're hitting hard. Which leads me to last Sunday night when a big wave crashed and I could not catch my breath nor calm myself. I panicked, which made breathing harder, and I ended up not able to catch my breath for 40 minutes-during which time I was driven to the ER (thank you again Laura!). Of course I hyperventilated; I was totally freaking out and could feel my heart skipping beats all the while. I needed some Calgon.

Why? That's the million dollar question. Now we play House. The Hugh Laurie version, not the kiddie one. Time to rule out what is NOT wrong with me. X-rays, blood work, CAT Scan, blood work, Echocardiogram (it was totally cool to SEE my heart at work!), stress test, blood work. I passed! All the big bad ugly things have been ruled out (cancer, PE, heart attack). I was diagnosed in the ER with hypothyroidism- my thyroid totally sucks, but as of Thursday, I am awaiting results from three blood tests for my thyroid to see if that's the culprit. Maybe this is also why I still break out in my 40s and  just cannot lose that last 5 pounds no matter what I try.

Look at that. I got all personal on your ass, and I survived. Thank you for listening. If you see me, listen for my telltale breathing, and if I look like crap, well, I have an excuse. I know there are worse ordeals people are going through health-wise, but as my favorite genetics professor used to say: when it's happening to you, it's all encompassing.

My hope is that it is my thyroid, and I'll get on a daily pill to cure these PVCs. I want to sleep without hearing the rhythm section for the Grateful Dead  during 'drums' while I gasp like a marathon runner. Ay, Mama!

Confession: I had to look up how to spell rhythm.


Leave a comment