AF Weekend

Most (all?) of my scribblings on here have been about writing so far. The clue is in the name I guess: Guy Farrish Writes: About Writing and Stuff. The writing comes first and the stuff has come a long second.

I did have an experience over the weekend however, which although it is definitely stuff and not writing, does have a peripheral bearing on my writing and my life perspective on writing. 

I was running, not far, just a couple of miles, on Friday lunchtime, when I was suddenly very out of breath and felt very light headed. I had to stop and walk for a bit. I managed to jog in the last half mile and shower okay though, and as my 13 year old daughter was at home (teacher inset training day) I put the episode to one side.

When I later started walking to the village to do a bit of shopping however, the slightly spaced out feeling became acute again and I finally twigged.

My heart was pausing and racing and then bumping about like an old motorboat hitting a river full of logs. My atrial fibrillation was back. I first had it back in Jan 2012 (after running) and in May 2012 (after running). On both occasions my heart reset itself to normal rhythm after three days without intervention. I stopped running for a few months after the second instance and moved on to more weights, a little light circuit training and in the January, stair climb runs. No AF. Good.

I resumed serious road running in July and was okay. I say serious but really it was fast jogging and not too far – 4 miles max. Then out of the blue on Friday – bang; this happens.

I gave in this time and went to hospital straight away (prolonged irregular heart rate of 120+bpm not good for valves etc).  So they chemically reset the heart rhythm but the electrical pathway it has resettled into is slightly abnormal. The cardiologist prescribed beta blockers and I have to attend for an echo cardiogram some time soon.

I know it is precautionary and a ‘good thing’ but having a normal resting pulse of 54bpm and a blood pressure of 118/78 when I am away from the white coat hypertension merchants I am v t’eed off about taking medication.

But how does that affect writing and perspective? Well spending a couple of days in a Clinical Decisions Unit certainly puts day to day worries into perspective. It also caused me to reflect a bit on my own mortality. I also realised how much I missed my family when they weren’t around. I have always thought of myself as being self sufficient mentally and emotionally when push came to shove but this experience made me realise how much I wanted them near. When my seven year old son came to see me on Saturday tea time he was visibly upset and that was by far the worst part of the whole experience. Worry about heart rhythms, ECGs, blood samples, Venflon Cannulas etc just paled in comparison to his distress.

So, recognition of mortality, what counts in life and the relief (for the moment at any rate) of being discharged. Not the way I would have chosen to spend the weekend but it gave cosy normality a spin, which probably of itself isn’t a bad thing.

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