Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Atrial Fibrillation

On Monday we were having a great day! I was rearranging my dining room, playing with the kids, just having a nice day. We were taking the day off school for Labor Day. At about 12:30 I went upstairs with Canaan and laid down to nurse him for his nap. All of a sudden I started to have heart palpitations and it was beating so hard and just felt out of control. I turned quickly to my stomach and thought, "what is going on??" Then I started to feel faint. I yelled for Malachi to bring me the phone and he called back, "which one?" I said, "ONE THAT WORKS! QUICKLY!" He rushed up and said, "what do you need it for?" I said, "I need to call 911" and he said, "what do you need to call it for?" I called and told them what was going on. I was very scared! I told them I was home alone with four children and he said, "It's ok, ma'am, we'll call law enforcement. They will be fine". Whaaaaaaat? That made me realize that Alif's parents are right across the street so I told Graham, "Go get Grandma and Grandpa". I made my way downstairs (I don't remember this, but Malachi says I told him to take Canaan downstairs) and waited. Fred came over and got the kids and Chamil came and sat with me until the paramedics arrived. What an embarrassing, scary experience. My house was a mess, I was unshowered and in pajamas . . . ugh! They put me on oxygen right away, asked a million questions and loaded me up. On the way to the hospital the paramedic got the IV going and then said, "I'm going to give you a medication that's going to stop your heart for a fraction of a second and it's going to be uncomfortable." Woah, scary! I said, "Is it going to be painful?" He said, "Yes." I said, "How painful?" He said, "It might hurt a lot." GAAA! It wasn't, though. It made my arms and legs hurt but just for a second. I felt so out of it, weak, tired, unclear.

Once I got to the emergency room they just kept asking a million questions and gave me a bunch, bunch more medication. They said my heart rate was fluctuating between 185-200. No wonder I felt so icky! Someone else told me later that it was 220 in the ambulance. After about 3-4 hours it was below 100 and I felt A LOT better, though still very tired & weak. They let Alif come back after about an hour. It felt like forever. They ran a bunch of tests and oh by the way, I had to use a bed pan several times. How's that for embarrassing?? My HUSBAND had to help me with the bedpan! The nurse offered to, of course, but I think I'd rather my own husband help me than some nurse I don't even know - and who was a man, btw.

I was in the emergency room from about 1 till 7:30 or so. I finally got a room on the cardiac floor (I think I was the only patient under age 80) and let me tell you, sinking into that bed was wonderful. Being on a hard gurney all day was not comfortable. I'd had lots of tests done (EKG, chest x-ray, labs) and I was just so tired. They hooked me up to a portable heart monitor that went into a pocket in my gown and that was basically it. No water, no food, but the IV still in. A nurse came out and took the IV out at some point and then it was nice to be able to get up and go to the restroom without the IV pole. I really did not sleep much at night at all. It was so loud in there. I finally fell asleep just before 5 am and the EKG tech came in with a very cheerful voice: "Emily? Hi honey, it's me, Nancy! I'm here to do another EKG, ok?" Then right after her, my CNA came in to do all my vitals - again - and then right after that the hall cleaner came by. AAAAaaaaaa!

Ohh! I forgot! The first doctor who saw me said I could not breastfeed because of the medications I was on. I asked my ER nurse to write all of them down and he very kindly did! I called LaMonica and asked her to look them up in Hale's and guess what? They were all fine!! Alif brought Canaan to me at night to nurse, and 3x the next day, and I pumped like 5-6 times too. Yay!

Ok - so the next day, I waited. I finally got to eat, YAY! I was exhausted but relieved that I wasn't having any more palpitations or anything. My Mom was there all day and we had a nice time chatting. I finally had my Echo at about 4:30 or so and saw the cardiologist at about 6-6:30. He was not helpful. He just smiled and said we'd probably never know what caused the a-fib, that I could go back to life as usual and we'll see you in 2-3 weeks. Umm, not that reassuring! So we went through the discharge process and ohhhhhh I am soooo happy to be HOME!! That first night home I was very, very paranoid. I had that heart monitor on for two days and it was a good feeling to know that at least if something happened they would know it right away. It's creepy to think of something like that happening again, and I still feel like I don't have any answers. I did talk to my friend Jan today, who's a nurse in cardiac recovery, and she had GREAT info and gave me some names of cardiologists. I was able to get in with her favorite within about 2 weeks, so that's good.

Life is precious. I had tears in my eyes in that emergency room, thinking oh my gosh, what if this is it? What if watching my kids leave the house with Fred while I was slumped on the couch was the last time I saw them? The last time they saw ME? I know that my days are in God's hands, and I know that whatever plan He has for me is GOOD. But I'm still human. I'm a wife, a Mommy, a daughter, sister, friend . . . God has blessed me with people I adore and it was so weird to think of the possibility of leaving them all so suddenly. I am thankful that He did not take me home on Monday, as weird as that sounds. I hope that his plan for me includes raising up my children, but I trust His will.

I hope I never go through this again!!!!


  1. I didnt realize you were there overnight when I talked to you last night (wasnt it?...I loose track of days)

  2. oh EMILY!!!! I am so sorry you had to go through that TERRIFYING experience! And I'm so sorry about all the frustrations, physical pain, emotional pain, and exhaustion that followed too! Oh, I can't wait to be there with you!!

  3. Emily!!! Oh my goodness!!! How scary! On one minute it seems that we can't do anything right in this mommy game...and then something like this happens and the thought of someone else doing it for us is totally unacceptable to us!
    I am so glad you are all right! I think we all have Jan on speed dial!
    You and Alif have been through a great deal. I am sure Malachi and Graham are going through there own feelings of anxiety right now! Love them up and enjoy your family Em.

  4. Hi Emily, I've been tagged at homeschool blogger and I am tagging you!

    Theresa (

  5. wow! I was praying for you Lynette told us you were in the hospital glad you are feeling better now :) praise the Lord, he is good!

  6. Emily, I'm so sorry for you having to go through this. ((((hugs)))) I'm glad that you are alright now. If you need me for anything, please feel free to call on me.