Monday, November 16, 2015

Be Still My Heart

"Hold my brain; be still my beating heart."

William Mountfort's Zelmane

In the last few weeks I've had two instances of Tachycardia (rapid heart rate).  The first event happened while I was reading Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I was sitting in my comfy chair, fire going, reading the most heart-breaking account of human nihilism--the part of the story where Arthur Shelby has sold his trusted, noble slave, Tom, and Eliza's young son, to a slave trader to cover his debts.



From seemingly nowhere, my heart started beating super fast--I could only describe it, on the phone to my husband, like a hummingbird's wings.  It lasted about a minute, and then went back to normal.



It had never happened before, and it scared me, but I chalked it up to stress from what I was reading, possibly tapping into other, underlying, stresses such as my parent's illnesses, my father-in-law's passing, and my son going off to the Guard.

Last night, it returned again.  I was cleaning the kitchen, when all of a sudden my heart started beating rapidly.  At first, knowing what had happened before, I had a brief internal panic, but then I comforted myself, sat down, and did some deep breathing.  It lasted about 20 seconds and went back to normal instantly, rather than gradually.  After a weekend in front of the television watching the Paris attacks, and their aftermath, I figured that was the source.

This morning I was almost afraid to get out of bed because I wasn't sure if it was going to happen again--a sort of mild paralysis--but I had things to do before going to work, most importantly taking care of my horses, so I made myself.

Before I went out, I took some time to pray for the victims and their families, our leaders, our country and everyone, enemies included, and acknowledged it's out of my control.  Then I went to the barn to spend some time with the Zen Masters.  

I walked over to every one of them--I have eight horses--and petted them, talked to them, and got into their world.  I discovered that they burrow really long, really cool tunnels in their round bales.  I stuck my head into Cowboy's tunnel just to see what he sees.  It's warm down there.  I wish I'd taken a picture.

But I did take a picture of some of the horses so that I could take them to work with me today and remember our time this morning.

Beautiful Girl: She's almost back to 100 percent sound, but still on stall rest since we don't know exactly why she went lame in the first place.  I love her intensity.


Penny: She's such a sweet heart and lover girl.


Talk about "be still my beating heart," when I see my heart horse, Cowboy, I still get butterflies.  And, little Lily, the pony--she's a hand full--stealing Red's Equine Senior and getting fat.   Red is in the background behind them.  He's our old man--the force is strong in him at 35 years old.

And, Leah.  She walked away from me when I first went out, but when she realized I wasn't taking her anywhere, she started following me around for some love.


I didn't get a photo of Shadow, but he was at the round bale with his head burrowed deep into that hay tunnel.  I did spend some time with him, too, and my daughter's horse, Cowgirl--ALL 8.

I don't know what's going to happen with my Tachycardia.  I'm leaning toward making an appointment just to make sure everything's okay.  Whatever the case, the best medicine, for now, is time with the herd.

Does anyone else have (or had) this issue?




16 comments:

  1. I have PSVT (paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia) - which is a fancy way of saying my tachycardia originates somewhere above the ventricles, but they're not sure where. I was diagnosed when I was 23 and have been on medication since that mostly controls it. I still have runs that are scary, but usually only when I've done something stupid - like going to workout after donating a pint of blood, or over-indulging in caffeinated drinks (I'm not supposed to have any, but I'd as soon cut my arm off as give up my Coke).

    Recently, I've been having break-through episodes, which I hate because it means I have to haul my butt back to the doctor, but since I've been on the same dosage for the past 20 years, it's not really surprising that it might need adjusted.

    It's totally manageable. In order to diagnose it, you'll probably have to wear a heart monitor for at least 24 hours, and up to a week. It's inconvenient, but not painful. Depending on the type/severity of the tachycardia treatment options range from medication to ablation (where they destroy the tissue sending out the errant signals). The worst part about the medication was getting the right dose, after that it's been smooth sailing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GunDiva, how did yours start out? Were your symptoms like mine or more severe?

      Delete
    2. Mine were like an anxiety attack, but without the anxiety - my heart would race out of control and I'd get short of breath. Funny, but when your heart is beating 180+ times a minute, there's not much gas exchange going on in the lungs. At first, it would happen when my alarm went off, so I chalked it up to a startle response for several months. When it started happening at the grocery store while comparing prices is when I started to get concerned. Luckily, I had an excellent doctor who I'd worked with in the ER, so he knew it wasn't anxiety and went straight to a cardiac eval. If I hadn't had him as a doctor, I think it would have taken much longer to get diagnosed.

      Delete
    3. That's how my experience felt, I was reading a sad book, but otherwise sitting comfortably and relaxed when it started....seemingly from nowhere. There have been a lot of stressful situations this year, but I don't feel stressed.

      Delete
    4. That's how my experience felt, I was reading a sad book, but otherwise sitting comfortably and relaxed when it started....seemingly from nowhere. There have been a lot of stressful situations this year, but I don't feel stressed.

      Delete
  2. I forgot - next time you feel like you're having a run of tachycardia, try the Valsalva maneuver. It works for me most of the time.
    http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Valsalva's+maneuver

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've taken comfort in horses for as long as I can recall & find that a mane can soak up a lot of tears. See a doctor & reassure yourself - even if reassurance is all you get, that's worth the appt.
    About those tunnels in the round bales... just made me remember how my dad always said not to feed rounds to a horse with the heaves because those tunnels can be pretty dusty on some bales & the dust could set off an attack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes perfect sense, those tunnels go pretty deep into the bale.

      Delete
  4. I think you should see a heart specialist just to be sure it's nothing to worry about. A heart monitor would help to diagnose what's going one. In the meantime though, I'd spend lots of time with the herd and let them soothe your nerves. It always works for me. By the way your whole herd is fantastic. So sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, they are pretty sweet. I hate going to the doctor for myself. I haven't been in a long time. I guess I'm trying to wrap my brain around how important it is.

      Delete
  5. A number of years ago, I had those same issues with my heart. My doc had me wear a heart monitor and for weeks while wearing it, I had no issues...so, we chalked it up to stress or unknown causes. I very rarely have it anymore, but like you, in times of deep, emotional stress, it can happen out of nowhere. I just sit down, try to relax and breathe deeply. Sure wouldn't hurt to have yourself checked out just to make sure though. Our horses are the greatest zen masters in the universe! Life just wouldn't be complete without them. Very happy to hear that Beautiful Girl is improving. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's reassuring to hear. I think I'll limit my stimulants, too--caffeine, etc. My mom suggested meditation. I wonder if it's easier to get them once you've had them the first time. All day I've been bracing for one.

      Delete
  6. I went through a phase where my heart kept fluttering and then it would lock up and I'd cough. I could actually see the fluttering on my chest. The doctor kept hooking me up to a monitor, but could never find anything wrong. My mother-in-law had a similar problem and wore a heart monitor for a month, and it recorded nothing unusual. My husband spent 24 hours in a hospital hooked up to a monitor, and they found nothing wrong with his heart beyond high blood pressure and hypertension. I kind of wonder if it wasn't actually our hearts, but other muscles in the chest causing those sensations, probably triggered by stress or too much caffeine. But you should get it checked out just in case there is something that needs to be addressed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised at how many people have experienced something like this before. It actually comforts me. :) Stimulants and stress aren't a good combo.

      Delete
  7. The horses are good for your heart. I had a friend with symptoms like yours. I'm not sure what the final diagnosis was but it was not serious. Just scary. I hope its the same with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more I'm reading, the more I'm thinking I can control this with less stimulation and more relaxation...barn time and meditation.

      Delete

Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.