Friday, November 24, 2017

Is This What It's Like to Be Born?



Two days before Thanksgiving, I went in for my Cardiac Ablation Procedure.  Not one to frequent doctors, you could say I wasn't thrilled about it.  As you know from previous posts, I had an extra node on my heart that would sometimes kick into a rapid heart beat, 220+ bpm, and wouldn't stop itself.  On one occasion, I was taken to Urgent Care, who called the paramedics, who stopped my heart to reset it, and took me to the ER.  During that episode, they were able to get an ECG that showed an extra electrical point, and it was my doctor's opinion that the extra node be ablated--or burned off.  After talking to him, and others, I suspended my medical aversion and scheduled the procedure.

First, let me say, an SVT, the one I had, won't kill you. But before my procedure, the cardiologist (specialty electrophysiology)  was required to tell me that the risks of the surgery were stroke, heart attack and, yes, death.

That wasn't the first time I'd heard the risks, but I informed him I preferred none of those three--nor the possibility of a pace maker (another risk factor we'd discussed earlier) and if it came to any question--50/50--during the 2-6 hour procedure, please err on the side of CAUTION.  He said he would.

And with that, I was wheeled on a gurny into a large room where I was surrounded by 4-5 people introducing themselves and their part in the team.  My doctor, and someone else, was in an adjoining room overseeing them all and giving them directions.  There was an anesthesiologist working behind me, but definitely getting his job done to a tee because before I knew it I was OUT.

Gone.

I had never been under anesthesia, so you can imagine the shock when I woke up.  I started to write a poem about it that night.  Here is what I have so far.

Is this what it's like
To be dead? 

A big FAT blank.

Not even being able to think--

Is this what it's like
To be dead?  


So, I was gone. More GONE than I ever dreamed possible.

Coming back to life seemed instantaneous, though it probably wasn't.   Your memory isn't good after you come out of anesthesia.  I woke up as they were wheeling me from the recovery room to the room where I'd been prepped. 

The nurse was telling my husband she'd told me to, "Go to my happy place." 

She said I replied, "I'll be with my horses."


And don't remember that, but I woke up so happy and refreshed, I believe I must have really gone there.

I was thrilled to be alive.  Thankful beyond belief that I was able to be thrilled.

I started asking them if they were successful and making it fire off.  (They have to get the extra node to expose itself).  The answer: YES.  Were they successful in burning it off?  Answer: Yes.  Where was it? Answer: on the back of the heart (left atrium).

Apparently, only 5% of these SVTs occur in the "back of the heart".  My doctor had told me that was a remote possibility, so I put it out of my head.  Surely, I would NOT be one of those 5%.  But I was. Because of that, I am VERY THANKFUL I had one of the best cardiological eletrophysiologists in the business.  He was able to penetrate the septum and burn off the offender--everything--in 1.5 hours. I was out of the hospital about 3 hours after they wheeled me back to the room.

And, I am feeling FABULOUS today.

(To put it in perspective: my mom's friend had the exact same procedure I did--and was part of that unlucky 5%--and her surgery--time on the table--was SIX hours.)

Would I do it again.  Probably not.  But was it worth it?  Yes.

Our annual Thanksgiving was yesterday, and I continued to remember, and cherish, that feeling as I opened my eyes on the gurney.    I am the luckiest person to be alive.  I am the luckiest person to have that kind of "happy place."  I'm lucky in a thousand more ways, too many to mention.  And, I'm grateful.

Turns out, gratitude is a powerful elixir.  Here is a list of the 31 Benefits of Gratitude.


Is this what it's like 
to be born?

The whole world
In front of you.

Your happy places,
Spread like golden pastures

Just waiting for you to gallop through,
Thinking, singing, screaming--

Is this what it's like
to be born?


10 comments:

  1. Wow. When you talked about having the surgery, I was scared for you, but I'm so glad everything went well.

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  2. So happy for you that your surgery went well. Of course, you'd be in the 5%, you're a special person. None of that regular stuff for you! I'm thinking since they burned the node off you're cured and won't be bothered with this anymore? I hope. Feel better.

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    1. We won’t know if it was successful for a few months. There is the possibility it will heal itself and regrow the node. In that case, they’d want to go back in. I think I’m done though.

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  3. Wow that is kind of scary! So happy that it went well, must be a darn good surgery team to do it so quickly.
    I went under anaesthesia when I had pins put in my wrist years ago- and your description of the process is bang on. One minute I'm waiting to go under, next minute I'm trying to figure out where the heck I am and what the heck happened. I was disoriented but determined to be my normal self.
    My happy place is the same as yours :o)

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    1. My family has been kidding me about my happy place—that it was horses and not them. Probably because horses are uncomplicated. I’ve always pictured heaven as my horses galloping up to greet me. Apparently, I feel it quite deeply.

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  4. SO happy you're done with the procedure, and that it was successful!!! I've only been under anesthesia once in my life - a colonoscopy. It was as you described, one moment I was there and the next, I was just gone. Poof! When I woke up, I remembered nothing.
    And in answer to your question regarding death, I think that is exactly what being dead is like. Nothing. Jesus says in the Bible that "the dead know nothing". I believe that with all my heart, until He comes back and wakes us up. Pretty cool actually. No knowledge of anything, anyone, or the passage of time. When my dad died, I told him, see you in the morning daddy. And for him, I will.

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  5. Oh Linda, I had no idea you were facing such a scary situation! When I read...your happy place...it made my eyes water. You are such a special soul. Take care & be well!

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