Man has made many machines, complex and cunning, but which of them indeed rivals the workings of his heart?
I had just stepped into the last house on a property tour when it happened: my heart seemed to turn a somersault, I nearly passed out, and the pounding started ...as in, my heart started pounding in my chest like I had somehow trapped a hard rock drummer inside of it.
It had happened once before, almost 10 years ago (Heart Beats, Heart POUNDS) but follow up tests revealed nothing wrong with my heart, and I hadn't had another episode since that first one, which hit in the middle of the night. It only lasted about 30 minutes and stopped as quickly as it started, so of course, that's what I expected this time. So I gave my feedback on the property to the host agent, got in my car, and drove home, expecting the pounding to stop before I could walk in my front door.
Well, it didn't. So an hour and a half later, I was strapped on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance in my doctor's office's parking lot with my heart still racing and pounding, about to be transported to the hospital. At one point they clocked it at 177 beats/minute. My neck, back, and shoulders ached from the pressure.
The paramedics had given me an empty syringe which I had been blowing into every few minutes for the past 20 minutes or so - like trying to blow up a stubborn balloon. Just as they were taking one last set of readings before pulling out of the parking lot, I blew into it and immediately felt relief. The paramedic said he saw my heart rate drop down to 90 beats per minute.
After waiting a few minutes to be sure my heart was going to behave itself, I was relieved that I was able to climb out of the ambulance and go home. A trip to the hospital as a patient in an ambulance isn't something I want to add to my 61 x 61 list (61 new experiences by my 61st birthday), if I can help it!
I've since seen the cardiologist, who diagnosed the pounding as SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) based on the EKG my doctor took in the middle of the episode. It's an electrical malfunction, where the nerve signal gets stuck in a smaller, easier loop in the cartilage where the four heart chambers connect. For some reason I don't completely understand, the strain of blowing into a tough syringe, or a balloon, or even making yourself cough hard can reset it back onto the correct pathway and normal heartbeats. If that doesn't work, and the episodes are frequent, there is medication and a procedure called an ablation that can be done.
I'm praying mine is just a random thing, possibly brought on by a few weeks of steady allergy and cold medicine (thank you, Cedar Fever!) combined by I'm-not-sure-how-many cups of coffee a day I had been drinking. Now I'm paying attention to how much coffee I'm drinking each day, and I'm also making sure I work out regularly and get enough sleep, since stress can play a part in it (although I didn't feel unusually stressed out either time it has happened.)
Getting older is a blessing, but it can also be tricky and full of surprises!
[A]ccept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields....
~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
I counted a number of 'sweets' that day. I didn't pass out, wreck, and hurt anyone...my doctor's office was very responsive and helpful...the paramedics were so knowledgeable...I didn't have to be transported... my husband and kids were on standby ready to help and meet me wherever I ended up.
But there have been many others this past month, including...
Lots of playdates with my grandson, supplemented by Facetime in between our visits
He calls me BiBi now!
I formed a corporation for my business (Shallue Property Group, Inc. - sounds so official!)
Sharing some beautiful sunrises on my daily walks with Belle (she turned 10 this month!)
My old Hyundai Elantra is going strong, even though she is also now 10, and has over 220,000 miles on her.
Steady business, closings, referrals from friends and past clients, and listings with multiple offers
Taking breaks to tap dance and play my drums (when no one is home!)
Still finding heart rocks along my path and friends sharing photos of the hearts they find with me
My kids bathing Belle for me when she rolled in poop on our morning walk
The rose bush planted in my mom's honor at her nursing home is still alive, growing and blooming
A motivating book and set of question cards from our leadership at the Associate Leadership Council retreat, and a belated Christmas gift from my daughter... one of my favorite movies
Wine in the mail (a gift from clients)
Feeling snow on my face and finding a dusting of it still on everything the next morning (unfortunately there wasn't enough for a snowman)
I also lost a classmate this month, and two friends lost their brothers. I'm getting more intentional about connecting with my friends and family, even if it's just a quick phone call or text, so they know they are important to me. Time goes by so fast, and when we are busy, it's easy to put off the things that matter the most. Don't wait!
I hope, no matter what is going on in your life, you keep a lookout for the 'sweets' in every situation. Believe me, you'll find them if you look for them, expecting to find them.
Happy Valentine's Month! I'm grateful for you!
Heart & me—