Technology just might never cease to amaze me.
I’ve had three open heart surgeries. An artificial valve that is no more than 15mm across “ticks” inside my chest every second of every day. This St. Jude’s Mitral Valve was placed there very carefully by Dr. Frank Midgley & his team at the Children’s National Medical Center 31 years ago today, October 30, 1985. I’ve been ticking ever since!
What I have not been as of late, however, is regular! My heart has been racing, ticking loudly and forcibly for a few months now. It’s been taken for a good ride this past year between moving, a wedding and honeymooning across the pond and walking literally all over the great City of London.
Arriving home on Thursday evening and suspecting just a little flutter on the trans-Atlantic flight, I could really hear it ticking in overdrive on Friday and took myself to the local Emergency Room. Needless to say, I have been frequenting cardiologists offices ever since. Seeing the Adult Congenital Specialist at Johns Hopkins was a real eye-opener for me and my mother (a nurse) alike. I am an amazing case, one they all love to study a little more every time.
To track my abnormal rhythms, I was asked by my latest Cardiologist, Dr. Joann Urqhart (new to my care team as my adult cardiologist recently retired) to wear the Medtronic SEEQ wireless wearable heart rate and rhythm monitor. About the size of an iPhone, I stuck this on my upper left chest for one month’s time. Changing it every Friday, I had four total, and was able to do all activities of daily living with it on. Once the month was completed, I boxed it all back up and sent it back to Medtronic. Days later, a report arrived in a FedEx envelope on my door with a whopping 81 pages (double sided) of EKG strips. See, I had to push the sensor on the monitor every time the ticker was out-of-whack and a kind soul who was looking at my continuous EKG all this time, would call me to collect my symptoms and find out what I was doing at the time of out-of-whack-ness. Ross and I became fast friends, as he seemed to call and check in on me the most. Turns out he graduated from my husband’s high school a few years before he did. Small world!
Anyway, as if Election Day isn’t doomsday enough, or enough to make my heart skip some beats with excitement, the day after I am trekking to Hopkins again for an echo cardiogram and meeting with the Adult Congenital Heart Specialist again, Dr. Thomas Traill, lucky man soon received a copy of all 81 pages and is probably still reviewing them tonight.
We shall see what the future holds, but until then, I’m going to keep on tickin’ – 31 years later & counting!