Matters of the Heart, Part 21

We really thought, or at least Ben thought, that once the cardioversion was done after the valve replacement that life would be good. Life would be smooth. He’d be back to his normal self and stay that way for years.

Well…that’s what we thought.

And he was doing great. Until that Friday night exactly three weeks after the cardioversion.

A good friend of Ben’s had bought him a device to monitor his heart rate through his cell phone by using a special device that fits in a case on the back of his phone and uses a free app called Kardia to measure and record his daily heart rate. From the day he got it, he’s been using it faithfully.

But that night he’d been feeling tired. Actually he had been feeling that way for the last few days when he’d come home from work, but we attributed it as just catching up from the surgery.

So he checked his heart rate. 137.

Not good.

And the app told him “possible Afib”.

Possible? In his case, probable. And it had been exactly 3 weeks since his after surgery cardioversion.

The same length of time the last one was effective.

Of course he called his on-call doctor but there wasn’t much they could do on a Friday night but tell him to go to the hospital if necessary.

But by Monday morning the swelling and shortness of breath had set in, and much quicker than last time. The doctor’s office prescribed changes in his fluid pills as well as some of his other meds to try and slow the Afib. Which unfortunately didn’t work too well.

The good thing, if there was a good thing, was that he already had a follow up appointment from the TAVR procedure. Otherwise, who knows how long we’d have had to wait!?

As it was, every day he got a bit worse, a bit more tired, and more swollen from fluid accumulation. More shortness of breath. Walking up stairs was an effort. Taking the dogs out was an effort. And by the end of the day he was totally and completely exhausted.

We looked so forward to getting something done at his appointment on Friday.

But it wasn’t totally what we wanted to hear.

After relating all of his symptoms to the Physicians Assistant, reading his EKG which clearly showed his “old friend Afib” had come back, all we were able to get accomplished were prescriptions for new meds that were “only a bandaid” until his two doctors, who were off that day, of course, could be reached and consulted. But fortunately his new valve was working perfectly.

So we were again in a waiting game. He was once again exhausted, having shortness of breath continually, and just miserable. He couldn’t work, had trouble taking the dogs out, and didn’t even feel like sitting outside by the pool, let alone just get in there and relax on a float.

And it was the start of the weekend, so what were the chances of finding out anything quickly, even though we were assured by the PA of getting a phone call by the end of the day…..

More to follow in “Matters of the Heart, Part 22”, to be published July 3.