I Am Out Of The Hospital

My first room at St. Mary's hospital

Let’s back up a bit.  I haven’t updated the blog in a while, so you don’t know all that’s going on. (I’m so neglectful, you may not even know that we got a new poodle named Murphy last September.  Maybe I should do a post on that soon.)

I walked a 5K on my birthday, March 29th.  I was feeling really good.  But in the month since, I have been having dizzy spells; some light, some serious.  I’ve also been short of breath in meetings, or when I came back to my desk.  I attribute all of this to the weight I’ve put on which has made my clothes tight; if it would just STOP SNOWING ALREADY I could be working this off and drop 15 pretty quickl  These spells have been off and on, but in the last week I started to put 2+2 together and thought I’d maybe get an appointment with my doc to get it checked out.  I opted to see the nurse on Thursday, May 1st, rather than wait a week for the doctor.

Melinda tells me that they may want to run some labs, so I should not eat anything after midnight and have breakfast after my morning appointment.  I figure they’ll take an X-ray, draw some blood, maybe make me jog on a treadmill, then send me home with some pills and a note to lose 20 pounds.  I’m anxious, because I need to spend the next two evenings working furiously to finish lettering and prepping my next Metro Med comic book and get it off to the printers in time for the convention, and I already have to spend two hours Thursday night going to my last cake decorating class.

So…at the Northeast family clinic, they have trouble getting my blood pressure despite numerous attempts.  My heart is only beating 30 beats a minute.   I keep telling them I feel fine!  They put me in a wheelchair and wheel me down to X-ray!  I stand up from the ridiculous wheelchair, take a few steps, and stumble to the X-ray platform, but the dizziness passes. They then wheel me back. The nurse, Nicole, finally comes in and tells me, “You are in total heart block.  You’re going to go downtown and get a pacemaker.”  While I absorb this, she picks up the phone and asks which emergency room I should drive to so that she can give me directions.  She hangs up and tells me my car will have to sit in the lot while they’re taking me in an ambulance!

Next thing I know, I’m downtown and Melinda’s left work to join me in the emergency room.  (Fortunately, it’s right across the street from her building.)  They examine my heart and find that the upper ventricles want to go much faster than the lower ventricles, so I definitely have to have a pacemaker.  They think they can get me in to surgery that day, so I can’t eat anything until then.  I am in surgery at 3:30 and finished around 6.  Finally got to eat 24 hours after my previous meal!

My first room at St. Mary's hospital
My first room at St. Mary’s hospital

This actually is a very simple procedure, and I was discharged after lunch today.  My mom’s come down to help out for a few days, because I can’t really lift more than 5 pounds (or put my left arm over my head), nor can I drive.  My buddy Erik found me a speedy printer that has a quicker turnaround time, so I may still be able to get my comic to the convention, and Melinda’s going to go to SpringCon with me since I can’t lift anything.

I’m okay, folks.  This is actually a good thing, because I’ve been “off my game” for a while, but I never had any heart pain.  I had no clue this was going on.  For all I know, I could have been on the verge of something much worse, heart-wise.  I’ll be able to function better.  This new pacemaker will not let my heart go below 60 beats per minute, when before it was dipping to 30.

So, to sum up:  I have a small, circular power-source in my chest that runs wires to my heart to keep me alive.  I am Iron Man.