The first time I remember it happening, I was in my 20’s and was prone to anxiety attacks. I still am, though in recent years I’ve had an easier time warding them off and rationalizing my way out of them. Still, they can creep up-as they did in the last couple of months.
Various things including some financial issues, home repair, Scoop getting sick, a few rejections in editorial decisions–and voi la–it added up. Sometime after March 9th, I know this because we were on vacation up in the Bay Area that weekend, I began having the palpitations.
As I said, I’d had them when I was in my 20’s and the next time I remember having them again was about 4–almost 5 years ago. That time when I had them, and being close to 40, I went to the doc and he was calm and reassuring, but he figured what the heck, let’s do a cardio stress test and check things out. I did an EKG, a stress test and a stress echo (a three-d ultrasound of the ticker). All turned out well and other than a sense that I was out of shape, the heart was fine. Since that time I have been working on the in-shape part and have made good headway toward stamina, strength and such.
But, the stress and anxiety hit again as I mentioned and so did the palpitations. I talked myself out of dealing with it for a while, hoping and rather guessing that it was the same issue that plagued me 4 years ago and again in my 20’s. I think I had them in between then, too-but if so, I cannot recall it.
There was no one single event that led me to call the doctor again. I simply wanted some relief either from the symptoms themselves or from my fear of them. I would obsess on them, think about them and they feed on themselves. That is, you have an anxiety or stressful situation and then the palpitations, known as PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions) start. Then, you worry about them and the whole thing just goes in circles.
The doc sought to reassure me, he listened to my heart, checked my blood pressure–all was in pretty good shape. For added measure, he prescribed a test known as a myacardial perfusion scan. Essentially, I was given an injection of glucose which simulates exercise or heart stress and then an injection of a radioactive isotope. Then, I was put into a machine that scanned my heart and blood vessels, etc.
I had the test on Wednesday and in typical fashion, did not hear back from the doc until Monday. I have to admit, though–the fact that he didn’t call right back made me feel good. For, in our litigious age, I would expect that had he found anything worth being concerned about, the phone would have rung sooner.
Bottom line: Heart’s fine. All is well. I still get the occasional palpitation, but I assume that is normal and the doc says it is. Some people get them. The key is not to dwell on them–and with the recent news, I should be better equipped to avoid that.
It is rather annoying, I have to admit. But as I am coming up on 44, I think it’s time I mastered the anxiety attacks and that, of course, will be the next step.
This post was merely for posterity. I’ll allow comments, but to be honest–it is time to move on. Thanks for reading.