Blog Archive

7.25.2010

Paging Dr. Shrek

Before I get into all the serious stuff, let me talk a moment about Dr. Shrek. He didn't help care for Ryan in any way but, yes, that is his real name, and he was a bulky man wearing GREEN scrubs. It was great. Ryan and I got a huge kick out of it.

It started Friday morning. I didn't know anything. Ryan just went about his day and night hoping it would stop. It never did. We went to bed around 1:30 that night and we were talking while laying in bed as usual. I layed my head on his right shoulder and he asked me if I felt his heart. Of course I didn't so I said no but then thought it was a strange question and asked him why he had asked me that. THEN he told me his heart had been pounding all day. When I say all day I mean since he woke up at 7:30 that morning. Naturally, having a heart condition myself, I felt compelled to listen to his heart so I layed my head on his chest and here is basically what I heard "boomboomboom *skip beat* boom boom boomboomboom" It was fast, then slow, and HARD and just beating completely WRONG. I just wanted to cry right then. I layed my head back on his shoulder and didn't say anything. He asked me if I wanted him to go to the hospital and I said, "There is no way I will sleep knowing your heart is doing that" and niether of us said anything for a minute. Then I layed my head on his heart again and he asked me again and I said yes. So, at 1:45 am, we left to drive 20 miles away to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, VA. We got there around 2 am.

We spent pretty much no time in the waiting room and as soon as we got to Ryans space they immediately hooked him up to get an ekg machine. Next they hooked him up to a heart moniter. The heart montiter told them what I already knew. His heart was beating between 90 bpm and got up to around 150 bpm. It was skipping beats, beating irregularly, the works. It was scary to see but even more scary to feel. Even MORE scary to know it was happening to my future husband. We were there for almost 3 hours before they figured out what was going on. Here it is: Ryan has Atrial Fibrillation. It COULD happen again. I hate knowing that. So, they treated him with a Cortizone drip and another drug in pill form and after almost 2 hours it finally worked. His heart rate went down to around 78 and was finally beating regularly. We left around 7:30 am. Here is information on the condition:

What is atrial fibrillation?


Atrial fibrillation (say "A-tree-uhl fih-bruh-LAY-shun") is an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that starts in the upper parts (atria) of the heart.
Normally, the heart beats in a strong, steady rhythm. In atrial fibrillation, a problem with the heart’s electrical system causes the atria to quiver, or fibrillate. The quivering upsets the normal rhythm between the atria and the lower parts (ventricles) of the heart. The lower parts may beat fast and without a regular rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation is dangerous because it greatly increases the risk of stroke. If the heart doesn't beat strongly, blood can collect, or pool, in the atria. Pooled blood is more likely to form clots. If the heart pumps a clot into the bloodstream, the clot can travel to the brain and block blood flow, causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation can also lead to heart failure.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

Conditions that damage or strain the heart commonly cause atrial fibrillation. These include:

High blood pressure.
Coronary artery disease (CAD).
Heart attack.
Heart valve disease, especially diseases of the mitral valve.

Atrial fibrillation may also be caused by:
Other medical problems, such as lung disease, pneumonia, or a high thyroid level (hyperthyroidism).
Heart surgery.
Heavy alcohol use. Having more than 3 drinks a day over many years can cause long-lasting atrial fibrillation. Drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time (binge drinking) may also cause a spell (episode) of atrial fibrillation.
Use of stimulants. These include caffeine, nicotine, medicines such as decongestants, and illegal drugs such as cocaine.
Use of some prescription medicines, such as albuterol or theophylline.
Sometimes doctors can't find the cause. Doctors call this lone atrial fibrillation.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
Feeling out of breath.
Feeling weak and tired.
A feeling that the heart is fluttering, racing, or pounding (palpitations).
A feeling that the heart is beating unevenly.
Chest pain (angina).
Fainting.

Atrial fibrillation is common, especially in older adults, and it may not cause obvious symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed, see your doctor. Finding and treating atrial fibrillation right away can help you avoid serious problems.

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

The doctor will ask questions about your past health, do a physical exam, and order tests. The best way to find out if you have atrial fibrillation is to have an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG is a test that checks for problems with the heart’s electrical activity.
You might also have lab tests, a chest X-ray, and an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram can show how well your heart is pumping and whether your heart valves are damaged.

How is it treated?

A number of treatments may be used for atrial fibrillation. Which treatments are best for you depend on the cause, your symptoms, and your risk of stroke.
Doctors sometimes use a procedure called cardioversion to try to get the heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. This can be done using either medicine or a low-voltage electrical shock (electrical cardioversion). Atrial fibrillation often comes back after cardioversion.
If you have mild symptoms, or if atrial fibrillation returns after cardioversion, your doctor may prescribe medicines to control your heart rate and help prevent stroke. These may include:
Rhythm-control medicines (antiarrhythmics) to help return the heart to its normal rhythm and keep it there.
Rate-control medicines to keep the heart from beating too fast during atrial fibrillation.
Many people with atrial fibrillation need to take blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medicine to help prevent strokes. People at low risk for stroke may take daily aspirin instead. If you are age 55 or older and have atrial fibrillation, you can find your risk of stroke using this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Risk for a Stroke if You Have Atrial Fibrillation?
Cardioversion and medicines don't work for some people who continue to have bothersome symptoms. In these cases, doctors sometimes recommend a procedure called ablation. Ablation destroys small areas of the heart. This creates scar tissue, which blocks or destroys areas that cause or maintain the irregular heart rhythm. Afterward, you may need a pacemaker to keep your heart beating regularly.

I don't really feel like saying much else, just know he is okay right now. He doesn't have clearence to deploy right now but I'm sure he will get it once he sees the cardiologist. Again, thanks for the prayers and concern. We appreciate it.

6 comments:

KelseyC said...

Still praying for you guys. That's pretty scary, but I'm so glad he's and you are ok!

xoxo princess said...

I'm praying for you guys. I hope that it dosen't happen again! Glad that you both are okay.

Amanda said...

im glad he's feeling better at the moment. I really hope everything will be okay!!!

Carmen said...

I'm praying for him!! I'm sure that he will be okay and I'm glad that he is starting to feel better! Keep your head up girly, you are getting married really soon!!

KrippledWarrior said...

Prayers in progress.

Sailor's Wife said...

I hope everything goes well for you guys! Prayers coming :)