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The Longest Day Ever, Brought to You By PVCs and Bigeminy

I can't believe it's only 9 o'clock. I feel like I've been awake for a hundred hours.

I remember waking up this morning. Joe tried to give me a good morning smooch, but I turned my head because he had wickedly bad morning breath.

I regret that now. I should've let him kiss me, stink and all.

We went for breakfast with my dad. I had started a post about Tim Gunn for Photo Hunters before we left, and I thought I'd finish and post it when we got back from the restaurant. As we were getting in the car after breakfast, Joe said he'd had a dizzy spell.

Joe has a lot of dizzy spells. I mumbled something and let it pass.

I regret that, too. I should be nicer to my husband.

Joe was excited about making and canning spaghetti sauce today, so we headed for our favorite farm's market to buy a bushel of tomatoes.

A couple of minutes into the drive, Joe commented that the glare from the other cars was hurting his eyes. “Where are your sunglasses?” I asked, thinking that was a silly thing to whine about.

“At home, I guess,” he replied.

“That's a good place for them,” I snapped.

I regret that, too. I should be nicer to my husband.

It was very foggy this morning, especially as we crossed over the river. I explained to Grace that we were driving through a cloud, and she marveled at the white haze on both sides of the bridge.

After we'd come out of the fog, Joe said, “It sure is foggy.”

I looked at him, perplexed. “What?”

He couldn't see. He was confused, so much so that he thought he was still seeing the fog. He closed his eyes for a minute, and when he opened them, everything was black. Over the next couple of minutes, his sight slowly returned.

Our family doctor has sent Joe to specialist after specialist over the last six months – cardiologists, a nephrologist, and a vascular specialist. He's had test after test after test.

My normally healthy husband has been very tired and down in the dumps. He's passed out a few times, but the episodes have always been explained away. He's had dizzy spells and bouts of disorientation. He has an arrhythmia (that's an irregular heart beat if you haven't heard the term before), so one doctor told him to avoid caffeine at all costs and then concluded that it could just be Joe's “normal” state. His blood pressure has been both too high and too low at different times. His pulse has been too slow, so our family doctor told him to keep track of it.

My first thought when he had trouble seeing was his pulse. “Take your pulse, Joe.” I directed.

I set the stopwatch on my iPhone for 60 seconds and waited. “37,” he said.

My stomach lurched. Our family doctor had told us to call right away if it ever went below 45. “Let's wait a couple of minutes and try again.” I hoped that he'd made a mistake. The next time, it was 36.

The following hours are a blur. Grace pooped in her diaper, and we didn't have any clean ones. I spoke to an associate of our family doctor, who was concerned that Joe might be having a stroke. He recommended that we go to the ER right away, and he told me that Joe would likely be admitted and kept at least overnight.

Joe was confused, and he couldn't understand why we weren't going to buy tomatoes. Grace peed all over herself because she wasn't wearing a diaper. Joe was whisked away into the ER with an efficiency I've never before witnessed.

We spent a few hours in the ER, but I only recall snippets. Joe's blood pressure was 100/34. I've never seen a person with blood pressure that low before. The ER doc ordered all kinds of tests, and my dad arrived to help me wrangle Grace while I waited for test results with Joe. Chest x-rays. EKGs. A body fluid clean-up in the hallway.

I was a weepy mess, on and off throughout the day. It's embarrassing, but it's just what I do.

The ER doc came in to say that she didn't think Joe had a stroke. Great news! She did think, however, that there was some problem that caused his brain to not get enough blood. Then she nonchallantly said, “Clearly, his brain was shutting down non-essential stuff because it didn't have enough oxygen.”

Oh, right. Clearly the eyes are non-essential.

But I did understand what she meant, and I said a prayer thanking God that we'd gone to the ER when we did.Hearts

I also thanked the Lord for my iPhone all day long. Grace watched her favorite tv shows for a lot of the time we waited, and it kept her quiet and me sane. Or mostly so.

By the time the ER doc came back to see us, she'd discovered something that no doctor in five years has noticed. Joe's heart beat is twice as fast as the pulse throughout his body. Every other beat is unproductive.

At this point, I was thankful for MckMama and all of the cardiac terminology I learned in reading about her son, Stellan. I was familiar with some of the things that were happening, and the rest I looked up on Wikipedia. Here's your heart lesson for today (but remember that I am not an expert. I looked this up on Wikipedia, which my school librarian says is unreliable. Don't sue me.):

The SA node is the place in the heart that sends out an electrical impulse that causes each heart beat. A heart beat initiated by the SA node makes the atria contract 0.1 seconds before the ventricles. That makes the different chambers fill up with blood in the right order, pushing the oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

In a normal person, most of the heartbeats are initiated by the SA node, but there can be an odd one now and then with no ill effects. There are apparently lots of things that can cause extra heartbeats.

If something other than the SA node regularly sends out signals that cause the heart to beat, the heart can get confused. You could get PVCs, which have nothing to do with plastics. PVCs are events where the chambers of the heart fill up and contract in the wrong order. Because things happen in the wrong order, the blood doesn't get pushed out of the heart and into the body. The heart is contracting, but no blood is moving.

In Joe, this is apparently happening every other beat. As you can imagine, this is a problem.

Once she discovered the discrepancy, the ER doc called in a cardiologist (from his home! on a Saturday! I am amazed at the things that are possible in a hospital.), and he confirmed her diagnosis of some kind of bigeminy. (They specified, but I can't remember. It doesn't really matter, does it?) The cardiologist said that it should be a fairly easy problem to correct. He even suggested that Joe will be feeling better than he has in years once the problem is fixed, and the PVCs have been eliminated.

Joe was admitted and put into a room in the main hospital. For the weekend, the cardiologist is going to try to get rid of the PVCs with medicines. If that doesn't work, an electrophysiology specialist (that's a cardiologist who deals specifically with the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat) will evaluate Joe and decide on a plan of attack.

I'm so thankful.

And so very very tired.

Photo courtesy of aussiegall on Flickr

© 2009 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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78 thoughts on “The Longest Day Ever, Brought to You By PVCs and Bigeminy”

  1. WOW, what a day for all 3 of you.

    Many many prayers for a speedy recovery.

    ps, go right now and stick a diaper in the glove box (just in case). 🙂
    .-= Adriennevh´s last blog ..Everything is Online =-.

  2. Oh sweetie, I’m so glad to hear that everything is semi-okay. I was really worried about you yesterday when I saw your tweets. Saying prayers for you and your family!
    .-= Angela Moore´s last blog ..October is Positive Attitude Month =-.

  3. Oh Tara, I saw bits and pieces of things on Twitter yesterday. I am so glad that the doctor’s now know what has been making Joe feel so lousy. Having a plan of attack and knowing he will feel better soon must be bitter sweet news. Hugs and prayers coming your way.
    .-= TheAngelForever´s last blog ..Name that virus =-.

  4. Oh Tara, I saw bits and pieces of things on Twitter yesterday. I am so glad that the doctor’s now know what has been making Joe feel so lousy. Having a plan of attack and knowing he will feel better soon must be bitter sweet news. Hugs and prayers coming your way.
    .-= TheAngelForever´s last blog ..Name that virus =-.

  5. WOW, what a day for all 3 of you.

    Many many prayers for a speedy recovery.

    ps, go right now and stick a diaper in the glove box (just in case). 🙂
    .-= Adriennevh´s last blog ..Everything is Online =-.

  6. Adrienne – That’s the thing. I always have 2 diapers in the glove box and two more in the map pocket of my seat. I know Joe has been having some trouble with disorientation and stuff, so I’m thinking that he used them and forgot to put them back. Or used them and forgot to mention it to me. Or something. I always have 4 spare diapers; I’m paranoid about being caught without one.

  7. Adrienne – That’s the thing. I always have 2 diapers in the glove box and two more in the map pocket of my seat. I know Joe has been having some trouble with disorientation and stuff, so I’m thinking that he used them and forgot to put them back. Or used them and forgot to mention it to me. Or something. I always have 4 spare diapers; I’m paranoid about being caught without one.

  8. First of all, you did a great job describing the physiology involved with the beating heart! Bygiminy is very serious when left untreated. So glad this ER doc was having her A – game! Will continue the prayers.

  9. First of all, you did a great job describing the physiology involved with the beating heart! Bygiminy is very serious when left untreated. So glad this ER doc was having her A – game! Will continue the prayers.

  10. Oh sweetie, I’m so glad to hear that everything is semi-okay. I was really worried about you yesterday when I saw your tweets. Saying prayers for you and your family!
    .-= Angela Moore´s last blog ..October is Positive Attitude Month =-.

  11. Oh Tara, I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for the three of you! Praise God they were able to diagnose the problem and are working to cure it right away!

  12. Tara, we’ll be praying for you! I hope he makes a full recovery. So nice to meet you at Type-A mom you are such a sweetheart!
    .-= Tanna´s last blog ..Inspired For Growth =-.

  13. Tara,
    I just can’t even imagine what you must be going through. Thank you for writing such an informative post. It raises awareness about what a simple dizzy spell can mean. I wish Joe a swift recovery, and hugs to both you and Grace! Off to give my husband a big kiss now…

  14. Tara,
    I just can’t even imagine what you must be going through. Thank you for writing such an informative post. It raises awareness about what a simple dizzy spell can mean. I wish Joe a swift recovery, and hugs to both you and Grace! Off to give my husband a big kiss now…

  15. Wow, that is a lot to take in. I can’t even begin imagining how you felt going through this yesterday. But I am so glad that it is something that can be treated and get Joe back to normal. My prayers are with you and your family. xo
    .-= Shannon Nelson´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  16. Oh my – what a day, and unfortunatley sounds like the start of a long road for you all. I’ll be praying for you!! Please keep us posted!
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Good Looking PB&J =-.

  17. Oh Tara, I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for the three of you! Praise God they were able to diagnose the problem and are working to cure it right away!

  18. Don’t beat yourself up about things you should/shouldn’t do. I took care of my dad when he had cancer and it’s impossible to care for someone and do it sweetly all the time. That’s that mommy gene inside you that makes u feel guilty. Joe knows u love him. And u aren’t perfect. So what? You deal with things the way you need to, but don’t make yourself useless with guilt. Your kids need u too. I don’t know all the details about your husband, but I do wish you well. I sent a prayer…just now…cause I know that is more powerful than worry. Xxoo

  19. Oh Tara I’m so sorry and happy at the same time over this. Obviously sorry that you guys are going through this at all. But at the same time happy that the right doctor was there to make the diagnosis and that hopefully soon he will feel better. Bless your heart, that whole day must have been a nightmare for you.

    And do not feel guilty at any of the times you snapped at him. We are all human living every day ordinary lives and the only time that is a problem is when something like this happens.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Celebrating World Card Making Day =-.

  20. Don’t beat yourself up about things you should/shouldn’t do. I took care of my dad when he had cancer and it’s impossible to care for someone and do it sweetly all the time. That’s that mommy gene inside you that makes u feel guilty. Joe knows u love him. And u aren’t perfect. So what? You deal with things the way you need to, but don’t make yourself useless with guilt. Your kids need u too. I don’t know all the details about your husband, but I do wish you well. I sent a prayer…just now…cause I know that is more powerful than worry. Xxoo

  21. Oh Tara I’m so sorry and happy at the same time over this. Obviously sorry that you guys are going through this at all. But at the same time happy that the right doctor was there to make the diagnosis and that hopefully soon he will feel better. Bless your heart, that whole day must have been a nightmare for you.

    And do not feel guilty at any of the times you snapped at him. We are all human living every day ordinary lives and the only time that is a problem is when something like this happens.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Celebrating World Card Making Day =-.

  22. Thinking about you and the family hun. All the best to y’all. {{hugs}}
    .-= Lori (A Cowboy’s Wife)´s last blog ..Weekly Bunch-n-Munch =-.

  23. So sorry! I have been praying today and will continue to do so!
    .-= Real Life Sarah´s last blog ..Healthy Fall Recipe: Chili from Scratch =-.

  24. Tara, we’ll be praying for you! I hope he makes a full recovery. So nice to meet you at Type-A mom you are such a sweetheart!
    .-= Tanna´s last blog ..Inspired For Growth =-.

  25. Oh honey… what a day. It’s great that you had the presence of mind to do what was necessary to take care of your family. You are your husband’s angel, even if you didn’t kiss his morning-breathy self.

    Hugs, Lady!!
    .-= Sugar Jones´s last blog ..Bread Pudding and Peace =-.

  26. Wow. I was diagnosed with PVC’s when I was 18 and have dealt with them on and off since. I was told they’re not a big deal and that they wouldn’t ever cause any major issues.

    Now I’m wondering if I should look into it a bit further!

    Glad to hear he’s going to be okay, and I’m sorry you had such a rough day. xoxo
    .-= AMomTwoBoys´s last blog ..Sure Signs It’s Fall =-.

  27. Sure makes you appreciate what you have doesn’t it? I love your comments about how we sometimes say things to our husbands (or kids for that matter) that we shouldn’t and that we may never know when it may have been our last chance.
    Thank goodness he is going to be ok, and that you are all safe (him driving the car while this was all going on).
    God is good.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Sponsors at Type A Mom Conference – Thank you! =-.

  28. SO good to hear you got him to the ER when you did and were able to finally get an answer. I hope for the very best for you and your husband.

  29. I’m continuing with lots of positive thoughts for Joe and you and Grace. Hang in there! Don’t regret anything you did that day – we can’t go back and change anything in the past. We are who we are. Learn from mistakes you think you have made. If you regret not showing Joe enough love, then go forward making it your own personal goal to do that more often. Again, we can’t change the past, only the future.

    Sending lots of big hugs for you, Joe, and Grace!
    .-= Robyns Online World´s last blog ..Purina Cat Food Container – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month =-.

  30. Wow, that is a lot to take in. I can’t even begin imagining how you felt going through this yesterday. But I am so glad that it is something that can be treated and get Joe back to normal. My prayers are with you and your family. xo
    .-= Shannon Nelson´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  31. Oh my – what a day, and unfortunatley sounds like the start of a long road for you all. I’ll be praying for you!! Please keep us posted!
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Good Looking PB&J =-.

  32. My prayers are with you. I know you’re a strong woman-stay strong for Grace but know that we’re all here for you when you need a shoulder. xoxo

  33. My prayers are with you. I know you’re a strong woman-stay strong for Grace but know that we’re all here for you when you need a shoulder. xoxo

  34. So sorry! I have been praying today and will continue to do so!
    .-= Real Life Sarah´s last blog ..Healthy Fall Recipe: Chili from Scratch =-.

  35. Oh honey… what a day. It’s great that you had the presence of mind to do what was necessary to take care of your family. You are your husband’s angel, even if you didn’t kiss his morning-breathy self.

    Hugs, Lady!!
    .-= Sugar Jones´s last blog ..Bread Pudding and Peace =-.

  36. Wow. I was diagnosed with PVC’s when I was 18 and have dealt with them on and off since. I was told they’re not a big deal and that they wouldn’t ever cause any major issues.

    Now I’m wondering if I should look into it a bit further!

    Glad to hear he’s going to be okay, and I’m sorry you had such a rough day. xoxo
    .-= AMomTwoBoys´s last blog ..Sure Signs It’s Fall =-.

  37. Sure makes you appreciate what you have doesn’t it? I love your comments about how we sometimes say things to our husbands (or kids for that matter) that we shouldn’t and that we may never know when it may have been our last chance.
    Thank goodness he is going to be ok, and that you are all safe (him driving the car while this was all going on).
    God is good.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Sponsors at Type A Mom Conference – Thank you! =-.

  38. SO good to hear you got him to the ER when you did and were able to finally get an answer. I hope for the very best for you and your husband.

  39. I’m continuing with lots of positive thoughts for Joe and you and Grace. Hang in there! Don’t regret anything you did that day – we can’t go back and change anything in the past. We are who we are. Learn from mistakes you think you have made. If you regret not showing Joe enough love, then go forward making it your own personal goal to do that more often. Again, we can’t change the past, only the future.

    Sending lots of big hugs for you, Joe, and Grace!
    .-= Robyns Online World´s last blog ..Purina Cat Food Container – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month =-.

  40. Thinking about you and the family hun. All the best to y’all. {{hugs}}
    .-= Lori (A Cowboy’s Wife)´s last blog ..Weekly Bunch-n-Munch =-.

  41. wow, that’s alot to take in. Praying for you, your husband, and your whole family. Keep us posted.
    .-= DesignHER Momma´s last blog ..The Little Roma Who Could… =-.

  42. I can’t even imagine going through that. This type of thing just makes me realize I do need to be a little nicer to my husband (and he to me) and we should not take each other granted, not even for a second. I will pray that he recovers and that they find medicines that help him. Thank goodness you got to the ER when you did and that someone finally figured out what was going on!
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Get Your Gold On =-.

  43. I can’t even imagine going through that. This type of thing just makes me realize I do need to be a little nicer to my husband (and he to me) and we should not take each other granted, not even for a second. I will pray that he recovers and that they find medicines that help him. Thank goodness you got to the ER when you did and that someone finally figured out what was going on!
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Get Your Gold On =-.

  44. wow, that’s alot to take in. Praying for you, your husband, and your whole family. Keep us posted.
    .-= DesignHER Momma´s last blog ..The Little Roma Who Could… =-.

  45. Okay, I tried not to laugh, but the part about your daughter peeing on herself because she had no diaper was just the perfect slice of “real” life. Television, movies, and books never have “real” life. I’m so sorry you’re struggling so, but the accident and the cartoons on the iPhone just illustrated how much moms handle, even during a crisis.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Okay, Talk to Me… =-.

  46. Okay, I tried not to laugh, but the part about your daughter peeing on herself because she had no diaper was just the perfect slice of “real” life. Television, movies, and books never have “real” life. I’m so sorry you’re struggling so, but the accident and the cartoons on the iPhone just illustrated how much moms handle, even during a crisis.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Okay, Talk to Me… =-.

  47. You’re precious, Tara. I saw this back when it was going on but I’m not sure I took time to tell you I was praying. Now, laid up in the bed for a few days w/the Crud…I’m tellin’ you :).

    So thankful this is in your “history” not your present today!

    xo
    .-= Robin ~ PENSIEVE´s last blog ..Dead faith? =-.

  48. You’re precious, Tara. I saw this back when it was going on but I’m not sure I took time to tell you I was praying. Now, laid up in the bed for a few days w/the Crud…I’m tellin’ you :).

    So thankful this is in your “history” not your present today!

    xo
    .-= Robin ~ PENSIEVE´s last blog ..Dead faith? =-.

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