How Doctors Can Scare You

I went to my cardiologist for my regular 3 month check up. I had with me a copy of the interrogation report for my AICD. I have my AICD interrogated at Mt. Sinai because they put it in and also their equipment is newer and reads my AICD thoroughly. My last interrogation indicated that I had an “event”, as they like to call it, back in February. My right ventricle entered fibrillation for two minutes, with my heart rate getting up to 220 BPM. The AICD brought down the heart rate before it needed to shock my heart.

I looked over my calendar, and i realized that the day that happened was when I went out to walk my pup and he got away from me and ran up a hill. Sometimes, I forget my new restrictions and I ran up the hill behind him. I caught him, but when i got there, I started to feel a little dizzy and thought it was just my inability to get enough air due to lung sarcoidosis. I would later read that an onset of heart fibrillation can be indicated by dizziness or nausea, then you pass out, and if you don’t have an AICD implanted, or someone around with an external defibrillator, you die. My heart returned to normal with a little help from the AICD.

However, I knew what caused it, but my cardiologist saw this as a major red flag. To him, this was a possible indication that my heart failure was taking a turn for the worst. He began to tell me that i would need to eventually go on a blood thinner called coumadin, which is a very dangerous drug. (Not that any of the drugs I am taking now are not dangerous – see My Medication List). He would also have to change my coreg to something else, and would need to program my AICD to shock me at 3:00 am if I start having more defibrillating.

Can you imagine just how stressful that would be to have the AICD programmed to give you a shock at 3:00 am?? The idea is that it will go off when you are sleeping. I know that i will wake up or stay awake anticipating a shock. From what i read, the shock feels like a kick to chest. Does not sound like fun. Since i know what caused my defibrillation, i know I don’t have to worry about that other stuff right now. But man, did my cardiologist give a bit of a fright.

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