So this past weekend was exciting for all the wrong reasons. After unloading groceries from the car I was struck by heart palpitations. Or at least I assumed they were heart palpitations. Not sure what they were now because… well, that’s getting ahead of the story.
It’s not like I’ve never had heart palpitations before because I’m overweight and out of shape, but usually they last about 5 or 10 minutes and then they go away. This felt like the same thing as in times past, but they didn’t go away after I had regained my breath. They didn’t go away after 20 minutes, or 45 minutes, or the rest of the night. They kept flaring up over and over and I wasn’t entirely sure after a while if they were palpitations or not. Until I went to bed that night.
I tend to sleep on my sides because I’m too fat to sleep on my stomach. Laying on my sides Sunday night, however, resulted in very strong palpitations that were definitely from my heart. Strong enough that at a couple of points I wondered if I should wake Anne and go to an ER because I might actually be having some form of a heart attack. I didn’t have any of the other symptoms of a heart attack though so I waited it out and eventually I feel asleep. In the morning I felt back to normal until I got up to do my morning routine and the palpitations returned.
Figuring that 14 hours or so was an awful long time to have palpitations, I called into work and sent an email to my doctor who advised that I come into the office and have an EKG done. Never one to ignore my doctor’s advice that’s what I did only to find that my heartbeat was just fine. “Textbook” is the word she used. So whatever the hell the problem is it doesn’t appear to be my heart. So the doc ordered up some blood work to be done, but I had to fast for 12 hours first so I hit the lab on the way into work this morning and had blood drawn. So far it’s indicating that my only real problems are 1) high-ish cholesterol and 2) glucose levels way higher than they should be. Electrolytes, liver, and kidneys were all OK. Just to be sure, the Doc has me going in for a heart stress test a week from this Friday. Right now she thinks it might be my esophageal muscle spasming so she’s put me on Prilosec to see if that gets it under control. Since Sunday night I’ve continued to have the sensation in my chest, though less intense and less frequently as time has passed.
This whole experience has been both somewhat disturbing (my heart’s freaking the fuck out) and highly annoying (I’m not experiencing any of the other heart attack symptoms). If you think you might be having a heart attack and you check online to remind yourself of the symptoms you find that they’re amazingly vague:
The most common heart attack symptoms are chest discomfort or pain, which lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back; upper body discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; shortness of breath with or before chest discomfort; nausea; vomiting; lightheadedness or fainting; and breaking out in a cold sweat.
I wasn’t in any pain, the sensation wasn’t comfortable but I wasn’t sure it qualified as discomfort, it was going away and coming back, no problems with upper body or arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. I could breath just fine. No nausea to speak of, no vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting. I did break out in a sweat after unloading the groceries, but it was a hot sweat and probably the result of the effort. Of course they tell you you may only have a few symptoms and if they last more than 5 minutes you should call an ambulance. I only had one symptom, what I thought was heart palpitations. I’ve never experienced a heart attack before so I wasn’t sure if what I was experiencing qualified. So do I call an ambulance or not?
Obviously I decided not to and probably saved myself both an unnecessary expense and a red face in the process and it turns out I’m probably not experiencing anything all that life threatening, but it has served as a great wake up call to get my shit together and start doing something to lose weight and get my blood sugar under control. It was more than a little scary on Sunday night. I think this may just have been the nudge I needed to get my act together. I’m signing up for Weight Watchers Online as I type.
Man, this is going to suck…