My Heart’s All a Flutter

A couple of nights ago, I texted F while he was on call at the hospital: I’ve  been feeling a weird fluttering in my chest today. Any thoughts?

F’s response: Take your pulse. # beats in 15 seconds x 4.

The beats went  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, flutter in the chest… where’s my pulse beat? Ah, there it is – 7, 8, 9, 10, 11… Uh, hold on. Why didn’t I feel my pulse during those few seconds I felt the fluttering in my chest? Um, now that’s not right, right?

I relayed the news to F. Given that the fluttering started in the morning and had increased throughout the day, he requested that I head down to the ER for an EKG and some tests. Ok, sounds great but was I supposed to get the girls out of bed and drag them to the ER with me? My husband was a step ahead of me. As I was calculating my pulse, F had arranged for Jim and Ellen to come and watch over the sleeping girls. He also notified the ER so they knew I was coming and I wouldn’t even have to wait. (Ah, the benefits of having a husband who practically lives at the hospital.)

Now I was starting to get a little worried. Was something really wrong with me? Of course, the most extreme thoughts started to run through my head — serious heart issues that would forever prevent me from partaking in my active lifestyle, coding in the ER and being rushed to the OR for an emergency surgery while wondering which attending docs and residents would be there to see their colleague’s wife completely exposed,  and then there’s the thought of leaving my little girls without their mom and my husband a widower. I ALWAYS think of the worst possible scenarios.

Fortunately, none of those things came up during my ER visit.  My EKG was normal as were my blood and urine tests. The doctor believed my symptoms were not due to any serious condition. So what could be causing these palpitations? The possible causes include…

Excessive amounts of tobacco or caffeine.  I threw out the tobacco years and years ago.  As for the caffeine, I’ve actually  been consuming a bit less coffee than usual.

Diet pills. Me choosing to eat less? Never. I love to eat and I exercise to support my eating habits, which is why my heart must be in tip-top shape so I can continue to eat as much as I do.

Cocaine and amphetamine. Good god, no. Abosulutely not. 

Shift from lots of exercise to no exercise. Well, I did skip my daily workout that day. Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have done that. There’s  another reason I need  to exercise — to keep my heart from palpitating.

Apparently, brief spells of palpitations can occur in a healthy person for no apparent reason. I fall into that camp. It feels odd and is rather irritating, but not unusual, and in my case, not dangerous. 

Phew. That’s good news. My fluttering heart will go on…

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5 responses to “My Heart’s All a Flutter

  1. Ugh, scary!!! I’m glad everything is okay!

  2. So glad you’re alright! I can’t wait for my first string-pulling in the ED…because we deserve it!

    Ahh, the orphaned children and widowed husband scenario. It’s a favorite of mine as well, but it makes it no less scary. I thought i was going to have a blood clot, that would turn into DVT, I’d stroke out and the kids would be alone locked in the aparmtent while I was dead on the floor…or was that just post pardum hormones?

  3. Hi Maggie-
    Stress too……and fatigue or sleep deprivation will cause premature ventricular contractions,(PVC’s),which is probably what you had. When I was 9 weeks pregnant with Tristan,( you met him at Drea’s bday hike), I went into ventricular bigeminy and to this day if I am stressed,sick, tired, or miss my runs too frequently I go right back into it and once into a-fib which was rather frightening.So sleep,breathe deeply, run, and keep the beat steady

    • maggiebahnson

      Yes, I had the PVC’s…lots of them! I watched them come up on the monitor. I was a bit sick at the time and with the 1-year-old who doesn’t always sleep very well, I’m often sleep deprived! Thanks for sharing, Nichol, and I’m glad you are doing well! (This is all the more reason to amp up my running, too!)

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