Mondays with Morie—Episode 15—1917 and a Heart Update

Gritty. That’s the first word that comes to mind about this film. My husband and I thought this would be a good way to spend a cold Monday afternoon as we are trying to get back into the groove of celebrating our Mondays with Morie. Going to the movies has definitely changed over the last decade with ordering tickets online, choosing your seats and heated recliners. The cost to attend a matinee as a senior was about $9 each, but because the tickets were purchased online, there was another $3 fee tacked on to that. Then, of course, what’s a movie without popcorn and a soda. Another whopping $23! It’s almost laughable. I know we could have done without it, but hey, it’s our Monday outing and besides, 1917 is an Oscar nominee for Best Picture.

I guess you’d like to know what the movie is about. So, in a nutshell… Two British soldiers are tasked with crossing the front line in France (?)in an attempt to contact the commanding officer of another British regiment (?). That regiment is planning an attack on a German stronghold but it has been discovered that they are heading into an ambush. Along the way, there are myriad amounts of dead bodies and horses, mud, muck and mire, crossing barb wire, bombs going off, heroes being shot at, cave-in, crashing plane and darkened ruins of some French city. Two hours worth. And, my husband’s favorite, the hero never reloaded is five clip round. (Ok, he’s a former Marine Corps sharpshooter and instructor, but even I realized the hero shot many more bullets than his small clip held). We were not fans. Sad to say our outing cost us over $45. Too bad we don’t do Tuesdays with Tony, movies are only $5 on those days. But on the bright side, I was hoping that one of the bomb explosions which caused me to jump would be strong enough to jolt my heart back into normal rhythm. No such luck.

And in case you’re interested, here’s an update on my heart condition:

I entered this month with equal parts of anticipation and dread. I so wanted an end to my episodes of Atrial Fibrillation but I dreaded and feared the idea of being under anesthesia for four to six hours. As my other two Episodes revealed, this proved to be much easier than I had expected and I have no memory of anything between the administering of the propofol before my TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) and being wheeled up to my room for the night seven hours later.

Luckily for me several months ago I joined a Facebook Atrial Fibrillation support group. This group has been a wealth of knowledge on all matters relating to AFib and its close sister, Atrial Flutter. If it hadn’t been for this group, I wouldn’t have known about the “PIP” (Pill in the Pocket) way of self-treating an Afib episode where you take an additional dose of either an anti-arrhythmic or a heart rate medication in an attempt to stop the episode. The amount of information given by any of the doctors I have seen could pretty well fit in a thimble. My first cardiologist told me nothing about my condition and when I suggested to him the possibility of having a cardioversion to end my Persistent AFib, he appeared surprised. I don’t know if he was surprised that I suggested it or surprised that I even knew about it. After two failed cardioversions, he referred me to an Electrophysiologist. That doctor did explain to me the process of having an ablation and how that procedure was performed, but that was the end of his knowledge sharing with me. Here, take this medication and I’ll see you in two months.

One of the great things about being in a support group is the ability to learn from others. I was especially interested in the members experience with ablation. If it hadn’t been for this group, I never would have known the phrase “blanking” period because heaven knows, the doctor didn’t explain anything like that to me. The “blanking” period is that time, generally, three to six months after the ablation where the heart is healing. During this time, patients may experience bouts of AFib and AFlutter but generally, they are short-lived. A sort of “in and out” experience, similar to what I had been experiencing after I began taking the Tikosyn. So when three days after my ablation and my heart started racing but it went away, I wasn’t too surprised. After all, I’d read about it in the group. The next evening when my heart started racing again, I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t begin to be concerned until the next day after my heart rate had consistently been between 110-125 beats per minute since the night before. I didn’t know what to do and contemplated going to the hospital, but I knew from previous experience, that all they could do is attempt to stop the rapid heartbeat and then most likely I would be kept overnight for observation. I knew I didn’t want to do that. I decided to wait until Monday when the office was open. I called as soon as the office opened and went in that afternoon for an ECG which revealed I was in Atrial Flutter and my heart rate at the time was 116. The doctor finally called the next morning and asked if I would be willing to wait a while to see if my heart would self-convert and I said I would, but how long? He said to call him on Friday and if I was still in AFlutter we could plan a cardioversion for the next week. That was a long week so when Friday finally arrived, I called right after 8:00 a.m. when the office opened, hoping I’d be able to have the cardioversion Monday or Tuesday. Not to happen, I have to wait until Thursday afternoon. My heart has now been pounding for nine days and the rate has risen to almost constant 125 bpm and higher. I’ve read that people live with this malady permanently, but I don’t know how they do this. I’m light-headed, somewhat short of breath and just generally feel “fuzzy”. It doesn’t help either that I hear the constant “swooshing” of my heart beat in my right ear.

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