Slice of Chaotic Life

The daily life of a celibate middle-aged man.

Emergency room, part 3

Posted by Itlandm on April 4, 2012

As I wrote on Google+, time for my bi-weekly trip to the emergency room!

Of course, I did not know that when I came home from work. We got off work early due to the impending Easter, which is taken quite seriously in Norway. Most people are not Christians these days, but they still take their days off  very seriously, if not the religion.  So, I was home early. I ate lightly – only a cup of yogurt – because I wanted to take a half-hour walk and big meals require energy to digest.

The route around the eastern part of the town center usually takes 30-35 minutes, depending on how fast I walk. Today my pulse started out pretty low, so while I did not run, I held a decent speed. Then when I was about halfway through, the pulse began to increase. Since I wear a pulse watch while exercising (even light exercise such as walking) I could see this before I could actually feel it.

The pulse rose more slowly this time than last time (March 19). Last time it rose more slowly than the first time (March 8). That time it rose more slowly than last fall, when I had to go back to town by ambulance. So there is a change here, it seems. I assume this is a good thing, but I don’t really know, since nobody knows what is happening to my body.

I simply walked, slowly, to the emergency room. I know quite well where it is by now.  Once there, I waited just a little while and a nurse let me in. There was only one patient before me, who had run out of some kind of medicine. I suppose that is an emergency, albeit one that could be easily avoided if you use your medicine as indicated on the package. For some reason the emergency room in Mandal does not have actual emergencies when I am there, thank the Light. I mean people coming in after falling down stairs, crashing a car or accidentally putting their hand in the electric bread cutter at the supermarket. Light send that we avoid this in the future as well.

The nurse recognized me from the first time I was there, although of course she did not remember my name and data. She put me on the EKG bench and ran the machine. This was when I learned something quite interesting. While lying there, I experienced several pretty strong palpitations, where my heart suddenly struck much harder than usual, making me nearly jump with the sudden contraction. This was exactly what I had hoped, to catch one of these in action, and here I had several of them! Except… not really. The EKG showed that my heart had beat fast but very regularly all the way through.

So, whatever I experience as palpitations is not that. When it happens, I can feel it like a small “hit” in the center of my chest or slightly to the left, and a kind of “echo” around the body. But there is no electrical discharge that corresponds to it in the EKG. Whatever it is, it is evidently not my heart. I have no idea what it is, but still, this could be very useful information. The other clues we have is that I don’t feel palpitations if I keep my breath in (but even I can’t do that for long) and that they only start when my weight is below 87 kg. Basically I did not have them when I was even marginally overweight.

The tachycardia (racing heart) was real and measurable though. The speed was slightly less than the two previous times. Perhaps this is gradually fading, or I am getting better at controlling it. It did not last as long into the evening after I went home, either. But it is a bit early to say that the next time will be even easier. We still don’t know what it is, after all.

The doctor guessed my resting pulse to 80. It is around 55. This intrigues me because from my lung volume I ought indeed to have a resting pulse of 80 or more, but I don’t. My heart is usually far too slow, but then occasionally it runs off. It’s like we used to say about our old horse at home: “Only two gears, too fast and too slow.” Well, I suppose having a workhorse of a heart is not the worst thing that can happen.

At this speed, I may just be able to squeeze in one more trip to the emergency room before I get to see my state-appointed doctor. Although at some point I guess we just have to accept these episodes and sleep them off or something. I still want a Holter monitor (portable EKG though). One acquaintance on Google+ had similar symptoms to me and nothing showed up on the EKG, but while wearing the monitor through the day her heartbeat was all over the place. I doubt that is the case for me, but it would be nice to at least rule it out. Having completely unexplainable disturbances of the heartbeat is not really a great way to encourage serious exercise. I intend to tell my doctor (the fitness nut) as much, if I eventually get to see him.

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