Mondays with Morie–Episode 7–AFib


This week’s Monday with Morie was spent not in a way we had anticipated. With the leaves turning colors, I had planned to take advantage of the cooler weather to do something fun outdoors. But as they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men, they often go awry. I guess an episode of Atrial Fibrillation resulting in a three-day hospital stay would qualify as “awry”.


I’m relatively new on my “Afib” journey, having been diagnosed in March of this year. Since that time, I’ve had five episodes of afib resulting in two cardioversions and at least six different medications as the cardiologist tries to find the right drug to control both my heart rate and my heart rhythm. One medication caused an allergic reaction, one kept me up all night, two didn’t work and one made my heart rate tank. When you are experiencing Atrial Fibrillation, generally your heart beats very fast and atrium in your heart does not pump correctly, often instead of a squeeze, it is more like a quiver.

This is what precipitated my recent three-day hospital stay in an attempt to control my Afib episode. There is an antiarrhythmic medication, Tikosyn, that the FDA will only allow to be prescribed after a three-day inpatient hospital stay, continual cardiac monitoring and follow up EKGs after each dose to assure the drug is not causing a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia. Apparently, if you are in the hospital and it does occur, it can be managed and stopped. The FDA also requires that each patient be sent home with a one week supply of the medication as most pharmacies do not keep this medication on hand. After the first dosage adjustment, I was able to successfully be converted, heart-speak for my heart returning to normal sinus rhythm. This medication is top gun stuff. If this doesn’t work, the next step for me would be a cardiac ablation. But that’s another story for another day. Oh, and I was assured that if it was going to kill me, it would do it in the first three days.

I told my cousin about my heart returning to normal sinus rhythm and she made a joke that she didn’t know your sinuses were in your heart. Before March, I would have thought the same thing. All I knew about the heart was what I had learned many years ago and I only knew about Atrial Fibrillation from television commercials. But since that time, I’ve learned a great deal about Atrial Fibrillation, medical procedures, medications and how the heart works. Now I know that when you have a Normal Sinus Rhythm, it refers to a heart rate between 60-100 beats per minute and a rhythm that follows a certain pattern. describes sinus rhythm as:

 the normal rhythm of the heart. The electrical impulse originates within the SA node and travels through the atria to the AV node. After a brief delay, the impulse travels down the bundle branches, thought the Purkinje fibers to the ventricles. sinus rhythm

God willing and the creek don’t rise (until the Missouri River which is over flood stage again) next Monday will be a more enjoyable event.

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