25 November 2019

A new beat

By Alexa

My mother has been diagnosed with heart rhythm disorder 15 years ago for which she takes medication.

How It Started

Last Wednesday I was at the Succubus store here in Alkmaar and chatting with the employee about being transgender, transition and all (all? a lot for sure 😛) things related when all of a sudden it happened. I started to feel extremely dizzy and sweating. I figured it’d be my blood sugar dropping rapidly (I’ve had this happen in 2013 and 2014 quite a lot as well – or so I thought) and ate some candy she had available. That seemed to happen and after about 15 minutes I started to feel okay again.

When I went to bed that evening I read out the data from my Fitbit as I do every evening. I use this data to see my intake and usage of calories to control my loss of weight a bit. Looking at the data I was curious about my heart rate and saw a sudden spike of around 4pm when I felt dizzy and sweaty. With this being too late for medical attention I just took note of it and didn’t take action.

Grocery Shopping

Yesterday I went to the AH QL and walked the roughly 3km to get there.​

Walking back I went through the Hout, the large city park which is over 400 years old already (gosh I love to live in such an old city!). In the middle of the park I started to feel very dizzy again and took a peak at the Fitbit and it showed a hearbeat of 159 (this was around 13.55). I sad down on a bench (a modern one BTW – there are no antique benches left 🙁). After a few minuted my hear rate dropped to around 110 and 2 minutes later to around 100.

With everything back to normal again I continued my walk back home. It was only 5 minutes later when I once again felt light headed. Taking an other peek at my Fitbit it showed a heart beat of around 133. I took a few minutes of rest and my heart rate dropped back to 100 again and I walked on. A few minutes later the same thing happened once again! Again a few minutes of rest and back to around 100 and I continued the walk home – I was only around 750 meters away from home home anyway and would have enough time to rest and recover.

5 minutes later – it is 14.10 now – and only a 300 meters from home (I could see the front door already) the dizziness became as bad again as it was in the park. I took a peek at the Fitbit once again and this time it showed a heart rate of 151. Now I started to worry and dialed 112 (the European equivalent of the US 911) and an ambulance was sent to my location.

The Emergency Room

There I was, in the ambulance on my way to the hospital which was almost literally around the corner of where I stood, but I wasn’t allowed to walk there on my own for obvious reasons. In the ambulance I got hooked up to the heart monitor, an infusion was applied through which I had some water and blood thinner. Around this time my heart rate was already down to 90 and still dropping to normal levels, but I started to get some stabbing pain above my breast.

In the hospital I was taken the heart and lung ER where I was questioned about familiar heart problems, blood was tapped (7 tubes 😲) and even more questions. It took an hour  before I could call my wife and tell her not to worry but that I was at the ER (and of course she was worried and hurried to get to me).

…and now the waiting started… The blood taken was to make sure I didn’t have an infarct and this would take about 2 hours. In the mean time more questions were asked by an other doctor (apparently there was a work shift).

The results

The results were good. No infarct and once again I the blood results said that I am completely healthy. The doctor suspected a hearth rhythm disorder today as well as the Wednesday before.

It was dinner time already and I was offered bread – probably on Sunday the hospital isn’t able to cook dinner on such short notice – and when I was finished I was fired. But before going the nurse removing all plug & play stuff from my body was quite interested in my transition and we talked a bit before I actually left.

An other thing that comes as a result of the (possible) heart rhythm disorder is that I’ll have to wear a holter monitor. Normally the hospital monitors for 24 hours, but I’ll get one for a week. This is probably because of the number of days between the 2 incursions I had last week.

I will get an appointment later this week with my apothecary to pick it up and get instructions on how to apply and use it. I will post an update about that when I have the holter monitor..

Looking Back

In 2008 I had the same sensation as I had last Wednesday. This was going to work and about to step out of the train. It was a bit severe though because I literally saw stars in front of me and blackness overcame me – I think I was on the verge of passing out. I sat on the stairs and and in a minute or so it was over though I was shaken for the rest of the day.

The same experience as last Wednesday I’ve had over a lot during the years of 2013 and 2014 when doing my postal rounds. Because I walked at quite a pace I figured it’d be my blood sugar dropping rapidly (like I did on Wednesday) and took some dextrose to counter it. It seemed to help in about 15 minutes.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think that in both cases I was suffering from a heat rhythm disorder. It’s kind of hard to check now because at the time I didn’t have a heart monitor like the Fitbit.

More Recently

I have checked the data of my Fitbit for the last couple of weeks and it appears that I’ve had more sudden spikes in my heart beat rate.

Looking Forward

In the hospital there was a problem with my medication (valporic acid) which I have to take after dinner. From now on I’ll always have my medication with me for a full day in case something like this happens again.

I am not sure if and how a possible heart rhythm disorder will influence the medical transition. I think (and hope) that hormones will certainly be given, but I am unsure about operations. I so hope that those can be done!