Dad's Heart
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13-12-2012, 07:43 AM
Dad's Heart
Well, it's official. I've suspected it for a couple years now, but as of late, it's become too obvious to ignore. I've got my dad's heart. The only lasting, tangible thing that piece of shit ever really gave me and it had to be his fucking heart.

He has a condition called "atrial fibrillation", and has had to be hospitalized for it one a few occasions. It's basically when a part of the heart is bombarded with irregular electrical signals, causing it to beat in an equally irregular manner. The heartbeat will suddenly stop for a moment (a truly "odd" feeling), then beat sporadically for a few seconds. Of course, I'm still young and strong, so "a few seconds" is all it really lasts for me, but my dad has suffered the palpitations for over 24 hours on occasion. On top of that, it's been confirmed that I have his high blood pressure as well (despite my fairly relaxed nature). So basically, my heart is a ticking time bomb that will, at some point, cause me to be hospitalized; throw a clot into my brain and make me stroke out; or simply give out all together. What a prospect. I've got a hair-trigger bomb on me and I can't just toss it away, because it's inside my fucking chest.

For the moment, however, it seems to be nothing more than an annoyance. I'll be sitting here, minding my own business, when suddenly my heart plunges into irregularity. It feels as though there is a bat going crazy inside my chest cavity; or as though someone is thudding his fists on the back of my ribs. There's almost immediate dizziness and a sudden feeling of lethargy. It happens on its own every now and then (maybe 2 or 3 times a week), but when I have an intake of caffeine (like I did an hour ago), I can feel that my heart is "on edge" for the next 36 hours. During that time, any sudden spike in heart-rate (such as when one of my booty-calls comes knocking) will send it into palpitations; or when I lay down on my left side, it starts palpitating and wont stop until I shift positions. Right now I'm relaxed, but like I said: I had caffeine about an hour ago and my heart feels..."fluttery"; like it wants to start going nuts but doesn't, and I'm dizzy as hell. (Though, I'm actually thinking that's from the hangover I'm now entering after a night of drinking and only 4 hours of sleep. lol)

From what I've read, alcohol increases the palpitations, but personally, I've found it to be quite the opposite. The only thing that really gets me going is caffeine, which is sometimes a necessity for me depending on the circumstances. I went through a hardcore energy drink phase back when "Monster" was big, and that's when the flutter started. I'm now kicking myself because I think that I may have started my condition early with the intake of 2 or 3, disgustingly-high-in-caffeine drinks a day for about 2 years. I quit the energy drinks, and for about 4 years now I've had only the rare bout of palpitations. Then, a few months ago, I found a really nice organic tea and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, it contains about a cup of coffee's worth of caffeine, and I was downing two a day. The flutter started with a vengence and even after quitting the tea, I'm now in a state of hypersensitivity. Even a sip of a caffeinated drink will now get my heart buzzing, and eventually fluttering like a fucking butterfly. It immediately takes my breath away and I have to stop, lean against something, and wait for the palpitations to stop.

I need to make a doctor's appointment so I can either go on unwanted medications or get probed/zapped. I'm tired of this shit.

Thanks dad.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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13-12-2012, 08:50 AM
RE: Dad's Heart
Sorry for you, man.
I share similar feelings towards my dad, and am very happy that the only think I inherited from him is dark hair and a neverending craving for sweets...

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14-12-2012, 11:14 AM
RE: Dad's Heart
Is this something that is treatable/manageable?

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14-12-2012, 11:55 AM
RE: Dad's Heart
At my age, yes. But I'll either have to be on meds all the time (which, while unfortunate in itself; will also eliminate some of my favored indulgences), or they'll send a probe through an artery so they can zap and/or freeze the portion of the heart that is causing the problem. I don't really know the entirety of it, but either way, it's a problem I'm pissed about.

But, I suppose that's life.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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14-12-2012, 12:00 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
I'm sorry to hear.

I'm sort of bugged-out, because I think I go through that too. My dad had two mini strokes so far his lifetime, and has the same heartbeat issue (I've heard it when listening to his heart while watching Star Trek as a kid).

How do you get tested?

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14-12-2012, 12:24 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
From what I hear, you go to the cardiologist, who then hooks you up to some kind of heart monitor which hooks onto your belt and you wear it for a few days. Then he reads what it's recorded and determines how often - if at all - your heart flutters. He then assigns a treatment accordingly.

The risk of stroke comes about when it happens constantly and for too long. The constant fluttering causes blood to form clots inside the heart, and if one breaks free, it heads to your brain. I'm sure the cardiologist could tell us both a lot more.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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14-12-2012, 12:35 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
Thanks for the info.

Sometimes I just gotta hate science. Not in how it improves things, but some of the things it detects is creepifying.

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14-12-2012, 12:38 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
lol. Nowadays they can put you in CT machine and tell if you're lying or not by looking at your brain scan.

Bad news for closet psychopaths...

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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14-12-2012, 12:40 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
Pretty expensive lie detector! Big Grin

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14-12-2012, 05:43 PM
RE: Dad's Heart
Eight years ago I had open-heart surgery to get a new aortic valve. Although I'm now in great health and have no restrictions at all on my activity, I've had occasional palpitations since, so I know what you're experiencing. The feeling is unpleasant, but not painful--more queasy and weird than anything else. My cardiologist has told me that if I ever feel the need to, I can go on meds temporarily (beta blockers) to relieve the irregular beats. I've avoided that, since they have undesirable side-effects (namely the removal of lead from the ol' pencil). So every so often I say to myself, "Hmm--the ticker's acting up," and I bear with it until eventually I return to normal.

If what you have has been diagnosed as atrial fibrillation, you should begin familiarizing yourself with the literature. A huge amount has been written on a-fib. And your doc is likely to put you on an aspirin regimen to reduce the possibility of blood clots--one 81 mg. "baby aspirin" a day. That's not a big deal. As for the hypertension, if lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, reduced stress) don't do the trick, there are effective meds you can take.

The monitor you're talking about is called a Holter moniter. Wearing it for a few days is a little inconvenient but otherwise innocuous. The wired version is for a few days' worth of monitoring. For longer periods up to several weeks, there are wireless versions that transmit a signal to a central monitoring station sometimes thousands of miles away; you swipe a magnet across the lightweight device glued to your chest to alert the company reps that you're having an "incident," and they'll call you to make sure you're OK. A report of the readout for the entire period is forwarded to your doc.

If it turns out you need to give up caffeine, BFD. It's not that much of a sacrifice if it's going to keep your heart healthier.

Bottom line: What you have is highly treatable. Be happy about that. Needless to say, many people aren't as fortunate as you are.

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