Tuesday, I decided to stop being a lazy bum and go back to the YMCA (I hadn't been in 2 1/2 weeks). I did my 12 minutes on the treadmill fine, although I was feeling some weird heartbeats, so I slowed down a little. Then I went to the Precor stationary bike machine in another room and got going. There was one other person in there, but she left right as I was getting on the bike. After about 3 minutes, I decided I was hot, so I turned on the fan at the other end of the room, and then I got back on the bike. Then it happened.
All of a sudden, I felt crazy dizzy and I started to breathe deeply to clear my head. Next thing I know, I woke up on the floor.
When I woke up, I felt like my heart was going to explode and I didn't know where I was. Then I realized the huge bike had fallen on me and the full weight of the top of the machine was on my chest (right on top of Sparky, no less).
I screamed for help 4 or 5 times, and then people started pouring into the room. I told the YMCA people that I had a heart condition and that I blacked out. The next few minutes are kind of fuzzy, but the ambulance got there in about 2 minutes (nicely done!), and I had paramedics asking me a million questions, strapping me to a backboard, putting me on a stretcher, and getting me in the ambulance within just a few minutes.
Let me interject here with what we've determined actually happened. It took a few days to patch this together, using the paramedics notes of what they saw, the YMCA employees stories, what I remember, and the information we got from Sparky's readout. It seems that while I was on the bike, my heart went into ventricular tachycardia (VT). That's where the top and bottom chambers of heart beat out of sync and go really fast. It doesn't always cause sudden cardiac death, but it's pretty common that it will, so that's the reason I have Sparky.
My heartrate got up to 250 beats per minute (I'm normally at 80 these days). Because my heart was freaking out, my brain didn't get enough blood, and I blacked out within 2-3 seconds of the VT episode. Then I fell off the bike, but since my feet were still in the foot straps, I pulled the bike over on top of me, slamming the handlebars right into my chest (mostly on Sparky. What are the odds?). Then while I was on the ground, Sparky shocks me to get my heart out of that dangerous VT episode. And then I wake up. I think I was out for about 3 minutes, because my iPod had gone past one whole song from the time I blacked out to the time I woke up. (fyi, the song I missed was 50 Cent's "In Da Club" which I'm bummed about. "...come give me a hug.". ; ).
All in all, it was a lousy 3 minutes.
When I got to the ER, the docs actually didn't think I'd had a shock. But when they downloaded Sparky's information several hours later (they call it interrogating him. Hee hee. I imagine a spotlight and a bad cop with a cigar screaming at Sparky) they found the VT and that ol' Sparks had done his job. Even after a 200 lb bike fell on him. Sparky, you've earned your keep. Also, note that I do recognize the irony that I was hit by a stationary bike. ; )
While I was in the hospital, they also did another ultrasound of my heart to see how's it functioning. Bummer news-it hasn't improved over the last 6 months. It's actually gone from 22% to 18%. Grr. The goods news is the docs say is not enough of a change to make a difference in how I feel. The bad news is they really hoped that 6 months of high doses of my meds would have caused that number to jump a lot. So we may be having more serious conversations again soon. I'll keep you posted on that.
They released me yesterday, with scripts for potassium, more beta blockers, and then they told me I can't drive for 6 months. And that's when my jaw dropped. Evidentally, when you black out and have an ICD shock, others don't want you on the road with them. I'm being a smarty pants, but honestly, I completely agree. If I had been driving when this happened, I could have killed myself and who knows how many others. I didn't have enough time from the time I started feeling dizzy until I blacked out to pull over. In the past, I had been told I should have plenty of time before I passed out, but it turns out with my lousy heart function, I black out sooner than most people would in the same situation. Argh. So I will be bumming rides from people a lot more often...friends- beware!
I love you all!