A Test Of The Heart
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Now that I got you by the title alone, let me tell you a story.
Early 80's when I was about 16, I kept telling my Mom how my heart beat would stop. Unintentionally, I freaked her out. I even had her feel my pulse to let her feel what I would feel. She took me to our doctor, then the local medical center and I was fitted with a Holter monitor which was the size of a walk man with wires and skin pads. Luckily it was only the 24-hour variety because I could not shower. I was the talk of the school because no one else had one on. When they read the results, something went wrong and (I think) the tape was damaged or erased. So, they just diagnosed me with a mitral valve prolapse and sent me on my way. That diagnosis meant years of having to take Penicillin every time I went to the dentist. That was just in case they cut me cleaning my teeth or drilling for cavities so that I did not get sick if bacteria entered my blood stream.
Fast forward to 2002 and I was sick and tired of taking Penicillin. So, my doctor ordered an echo. It showed no prolapse so I was finally able to get off the meds.
Fast forward to April 2013 and it was my annual GP visit. I commented to her that, in the last year, sometimes when I exercised I felt chest pain that sometimes shot to my back and sometimes made me dizzy. The spell did not last, but would come back during the same exercise session. She took an EKG which she said was normal except for a blip. She asked if I had palpatations or skipped beats. I said yes. She referred me to the cardiologist on staff. Two weeks later I saw him. He listened to my complaint, listened to my heart and carotid artery, and looked at the EKG. He said everything was normal except for an occasional episode which he said was "nothing". But he ordered an echo and a stress test. The results of both was very good. So, he prescribed Magnesium and said to come back in a month to let me know if it helped the skipped beats.
Yesterday, I asked him what the Magnesium was supposed to do. He said to even out the rhythm. I told him the mineral did help me poop. I told him I still had the skipped beats as often as I always had, but they were not as intense nor did I get dizzy anymore. He said the latter was good, but was putting me on a 24-hour monitor to test for stuff the other machines could not catch. He also took blood to test for Magnesium and Potassium levels. He may need to increase the Magnesium. So, here I am wearing the monitor which is a little smaller than the one in the 80's. I am to press the big button and document each time I feel an event. So far I have recorded 43 events.
I turn in the unit today at 2pm and will get the results in 2 weeks.