. . . and the Steady Beat Goes on, Irregularly

Heart finger painting
stage 1

Spent 5 hours in the ER.  Chest pain, light headedness, fatigue, muddled thinking.  I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack since these symptoms have been going on for sometime.  In the past, by the time they got me on a halter-monitor my symptoms were gone.  This time I was told to go to the ER where they had the equipment to “catch” what was happening.  

Yes!  I’ve got rhythm

steadily  ir reg ula r

                                      JaZzy marching band

Heart of the matter:
Help me be independent
of unhealthy health


Drove myself to the ER (remember, I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack). Said I was having chest pain so I got preferred parking and was triaged in immediately.  If you are bleeding profusely (depending on what part of the body is bleeding) or have chest pains you go to the head of the line.  

OF COURSE the 2-second EKG  was fine and I was sent to the waiting room till they had a “bed” for me.  

Heart finger painting
Stage 2

Three hours later, having read every magazine in the waiting room (except for Popular Mechanics which my heart wasn’t into), I was disrobed, had blood drawn, chest x-rayed and  hooked up to a heart monitor with a comfy warm blanket around my legs.

Seems the culprit is bradycardia – my heart rate goes too low with any kind of exertion (including laughing exuberantly) and not enough blood is getting to my organs including my brain, which it turns out is an organ, (thus the muddled thinking –  a relief to know it’s not old age just heart disease).

Now I can add bradycardia to the PVC’s, atrial fibrillation, AV node block, high blood pressure, crabbiness and gray hair.

What to do?  I’ll see the Doctor November 8th.  

He’s not triaging me in first cuz my heart is still beating, albeit irregularly.

37 thoughts on “. . . and the Steady Beat Goes on, Irregularly

  1. Every heartbeat
    sends waves
    beyond horizon
    Bad haiku trying to say you’ve got one of the “biggest and bestest” hearts I know — wish it wasn’t “travelling to the beat of a different drum.”


  2. Saw my name spelt wrongly on my page…and a sentence missing a word..Judy..instantly I knew all wasn’t the way it should be with you…and I reached here..and lo! Everything is as usual..making light of everything.. irregularly regular heart..and so much more.. but yes I will agree with all that Nov. 08 is a bit far..but then it’s OK…I will like to trust the doctor and your will-power more than anything else on this planet…lot of work remains..
    Need to become worthier and wealthier to visit US and meeting you…

    Your haiku is as beautiful ..Take care..with so much love around..



    • Ramesh,
      Thank you so much for your lovely, loving reply. I am not realizing how “muddled” I’ve been until things are pointed out to me.

      I have an incredible cardiologist who specializes in electrical heart systems. It’s the administrative management of this huge medical group that is so horrible. BUT . . . I might have to look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter how good someone is if you can’t get to see them.


  3. I hope you can get in to see the doc before Nov 8. That’s crazy! As is everything else in our health care system! On the haiku – the heart is certainly a paradoxical organ. Regularly irregular!! Wishing you healthy health!!


  4. Really, you drove yourself to the ER? There’s something that sounds so wrong about that, Yeah, I know, I know “stop worrying” Tough noogies. I will not stop. November 8th? I must have misread that. As your daughter, I believe I should respectfully of course, call the doctor and tell them that it is not an appropriate amount of time given the circumstances. I do believe with love and concern that the appointment should be moved up a few weeks as in this week. Feel free to send me their number at your EARLEIST convenience and start fighting back. Hard. Love and kisses, Laurie F (for Friggin) Westerfield


    • Dear Daughter Laurie F. W.
      You are the BEST daughter ever.. . from the beginning it was the easiest birth, no labor pains. (However I still need to lose those 20 pounds I gained)
      Smothering you with hugs and kisses.


  5. Yoiks. If only I had a nickel for every woman who has said: ” I drove myself to the E.R because I knew I wasn’t having a ____ (fill in the blank: heart attack, stroke, brain tumour, etc) …..” Trouble is – we don’t “know” anything really – hence our visit to the hospital in the first place.

    I think a good rule of thumb would be: if you qualify for preferred parking (because of chest pain) then you better not be driving the car that’s pulling into that preferred parking spot!

    Same with “symptoms going on a long time” being some kind of reassurance that it’s just not that serious. This scenario often gives women a false sense of unearned security. Geez Louise, I’ve met women whose vague symptoms went on month after month before their ticking time bomb was finally diagnosed. Women are already masterful at diminishing/dismissing/denying symptoms, and positively world-class at not wanting to be a bother!

    Really glad your heart is still (irregularly!) beating – now promise me you won’t drive yourself to the E.R. again!!!



  6. If I may, And if not, just ignore my note here.
    Well, it is out of love anyway.
    1. Ask your intuition to draw your heart for you, and, not knowing what you draw, trust any impulse to use this color or that, this direction or that, etc.
    2. Look at the drawing and see how you feel. That’s the thing: How you feel.
    3. Ask intuition to draw your feeling again for you.
    4. See how it feels and draw it again.
    5. See how it feels now, because it keeps changing, and draw again.
    6. do this until the last drawing feels really good.
    7. In this way you will have treated the cause and not the effect. It will be a releasing of the emotional cause.
    You really don’t have to do it. Only if it looks interesting and fun.


    • Giora,
      THat’s exactly what I did! THe finger painted pictures I did are on the post – I just didn’t put in the comments. It’s a work in progress.

      Hey we are on the very same page. Thank you, couldn’t have said it better myself!


  7. Oh, you’ve had a tough time, Judy. The ER often is more concerned with getting through backlog than patient care. November 8th is so far away. I hope your doctor can at least offer something positive.

    I’ve been to the ER three times with chest pain, pain radiating up my neck and down my left arm, and scared out of my mind. Each time, I was put in a cubby, wired up, and left alone for several hours. Bottom line: “Go home. You’re fine; there’s nothing wrong with you.” After the third time, I did some reading, then went to my MD and asked for an endoscopy. Turned out my diagnosis was correct. GERD.

    My husband went to the ER once, same symptoms. They kept him overnight in the cardiac unit, gave him a cardiac stress test and a bunch of other tests, and made a diagnosis. Bottom line: GERD.

    Am I being overly sensitive, or is there something wrong with this picture?


    • Patti,
      There is a HUGE discrepancy between how men and women are treated – especially when it comes to heart matters/symptoms. YOU ARE NOT OVERLY SENSITIVE.

      You did well to go to the ER.

      Look at Carolyn Thomas’ comment above. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT
      and check out
      her blog: http://myheartsisters.org/. Whether or not you have heart disease it is really informative and well written.


      • Carolyn makes total sense. My mother-in-law (who miraculously lived to 94) once waited three days (!) after having a heart attack before calling a taxi to drive her to the hospital. “I didn’t want to be a bother.”

        Something is so wrong with our programming.


      • If the doctors had been alert to how women’s heart attacks differ from those of men, my mother would still be alive today. They said she was dehydrated, sent her home, and she died two days later. Heart attack.



        • Magic, What a tragedy about your mother. It is so true that women are treated differently because all the original decades of research were done by men on men. Hopefully with more public awareness that will change.


          • And it gets worse! In 2005, the American Heart Association surveyed physicians in the U.S. to see how many were aware that more women than men die of heart disease each year (a statistic that’s been true since they started keeping track in 1984). Only 8% of family doctors knew this fact, and (much worse!!) only 17% of CARDIOLOGISTS were aware of it. CARDIOLOGISTS! This is their business. This is all they do!! Shocking, really!

            Magical, that is truly tragic about your Mom being dismissed with dehydration. My condolences to you.


        • MMT – They apparently thought women couldn’t have strokes or embolisms either. My mother went to the hospital with head pain. They gave her pills for her “headache” and sent her home. She died three days later. Cerebral hemorrhage.


          • Patti,
            I’m so sorry about your Mother. Women’s headaches are dismissed even more so than other symptoms.

            In Carolyn Thomas’s blog HeartSisters she talks about how it’s easier to “market” cancer causes/research/fundraising because there are cancer survivors who can share stories and motivate others. Whereas, women who have heart attacks or strokes die. And those that survive are often so disabled that it frightens rather than inspires.


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