As an RN (registered nurse) I should know better. Late Sunday night my heart started racing and I could feel the palpitations in my chest. I was sweaty and light headed. I told my wife what was going on and went to sleep. I had a trip in the morning with Dr. Ron and didn't want to cancel. I thought I could sleep it off.
The alarm clock went off at 4 am and my heart was still running and I felt light headed like I might pass out. I got in the truck, stopped for a coffee, and waited for my client hoping it would pass. I tried to bear down a few times hoping to slow the rate but that didn't work, but I almost soiled my shorts. Ron came and we fished and had a nice morning. I almost said something to him but didn't. After our trip I went home and took a nap thinking again I could sleep it off.
I woke before dinner and was woosy and lightheaded when I got up. My heart was still racing and chest still pounding and my heart beat irregular. I sat down with the girls and had a few bites of dinner before telling my wife, " I need to pack a bag and go to the ER."
As soon as I walked in and said "chest" I was brought into the back back. A quick 12 lead EKG showed I was in atrial flutter with a heart rate between 160-180 beats per minute.
They quickly gave me some Cardizem that slowed the rate and put me into atrial fibrillation. I felt better and the palpitations and sweat and light headedness left, but now was the question, " We have to check and rule out a heart attack." Then I got nervous.
Over the next several hours it was ekg's and blood work and finally the " There is no myocardial damage." Whew...no heart attack. But I was admitted to the cardiac unit for careful monitoring.
I stayed in a-fib and the plan was to take me to the cardiac lab, do a transesophageal ultrasound and shock my heart into a normal rhythm. Luckily I think my heart heard that and decided to jump into sinus rhythm on it's own.
In total I spent four days at Monmouth Medical reading several books including a new one that is out by Jeff Nichols, Caught. For the first time I read Stripers on the Fly by Lou Tabory, which I would recommend to any beginning striped bass fly rodder. I had plenty of support in visits from my family and my buddy Al and texts and phone calls from family, friends and guys from the beach including Leif and Richie. I am scheduled to present at the Orvis NYC store tomorrow and I was back and forth with fly fishing manger Rob who said not to worry about it, but I am going as planned.
So without a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do speech I say, guys and girls, if you feel "off" or "something" especially if it has to do with your heart or head, go get it checked out immediately. I waited nearly 24 hours to get it checked out and treated and luckily it all went well in the end.