Why I’ve been MIA
July 17, 2019
I realize that I haven’t posted since June 26th and I can explain. My heartbeat converted from sinus rhythm to atrial fibrillation (AFib) on that day and hasn’t popped back into sinus rhythm on its own (which is can and often does) which means that I am benched until I can get my healthy heartbeat back. And the first attempt at doing that medically happens tomorrow at around noon. I am going to get a procedure called a TEE to see if I have developed any blood clots since the 26th of June; and, if I’m clear (I am on the blood thinner XARELTO), then they will use a cardioversion machine to basically reboot my heart into sinus rhythm. It worked like a champ back in March, 2017, until the 26th, and I hope it’ll work like a charm again tomorrow, July 18, 2019, at noon. Wish me luck and pray for me.
Back around New Years 2016/2017, I was at an event down in Charleston, South Carolina, a Renaissance Weekend reunion, that I rode the 527.1 mi on my 1995 BMW K1100LT motorcycle. I think I was anxious about the trip, about the conference, and I was also taking too much Advil while drinking too much coffee and Red Bull and probably not drinking nearly enough water. Then, after not seeing some friends for upwards of a decade, I drowned myself in wine and scotch. Along with these contributing factors, maybe, I don’t know, my heartbeat started to go nuts and then, since I didn’t go straight to an ER or a clinic, that hummingbird heart of mine stumbled and then became ragged atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow and can result in blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.
I went to a clinic eventually, after my heart was so tired and my body had bloated like a tick from edema, and the doc there told me to get to the hospital immediately. Like, as in leave my car at the clinic and take an Uber right then. When I arrived at Inova Alexandria Hospital, they rushed me in and kept me for 10-days. It took them three months before they got the OK to convert my heart from AFib to sinus rhythm using a procedure and technology called cardioversion.
Cardioversion is a medical procedure by which an abnormally fast heart rate or other cardiac arrhythmia is converted to a normal rhythm using electricity or drugs—in my case, electricity. That was March 2017. I was able to maintain sinus rhythm from then until June 26th, when my heart popped back into AFib: 27 months. Not a bad run, but I was hoping forever.
Before they do a cardioversion, they do a transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) procedure that produces pictures of my heart. by attaching the echo transducer that produces the sound waves to a thin tube that passes through my mouth, down my throat, and into my esophagus, checking me for blood clots before jumping me like an old Buick.
Spin, Bike, Jog, Row, & Swing!
Once I got my heart cardioverted back to natural sinus rhythm, I was good to go. I felt amazing and went right back to running, jogging, kettlebell-swinging, rowing on the erg, and spinning at Cyclebar! I am hoping for the same success. I am also praying for more than another 27-months of sweet, sweet, healthy heartbeats. I am praying humbly for a decade, a lifetime.
Sorry I Disappeared
Whenever I am not awesome, I tend to get to feeling too vulnerable and too weak and pathetic and run away from RNNR (maybe the name RNNR is about running towards health but also running away from health, too; maybe the story is more complicated than I initially presumed).
The procedure went smoothly and I am blessed with a lovely sinus rhythm thanks to Nurse Catherine and Dr. Matthew Lucks, my cardologist. And Anna. And my anesthesiologist and anesthesiology nurse and the entire gang from Virginia Hospital Center (VHC). I really hope it sticks. At least for another 27-months at a minimum. Thanks for all the support you have given me during this time. I am much obliged and much appreciative.