The Onlie Physick

Something happened yesterday that upset the living bejeezus out of me. Better now, but for most of eighteen hours my heart kept racketing like a tennis ball in the drum of a dryer; percussion against my ribs competed with a sense that the Event Horizon was somewhere in my mediastinum. People who are less cautious about the great soul-sucking meat grinder that is American Medicine go to the ER for sensations like this.

I had to wait around this morning for a delivery, despite the Gene Krupa riffs being still there when I woke up. Pocketa pocketa. Finally, there was just time to get to the gym.

Twenty minutes on the bike, pull-ups, dumbbell presses, pullovers and hanging-from-a-bar leg raises, the bravura succession of upside-down moves I can’t do without. Stuff that would probably make a doctor’s head spin around like Linda Blair’s in the Exorccist if you told her your heart was already palpitating.

What the fuck. I grabbed the axle of the world and stopped banging around loose in its orbit.

Everything was fine after that.

Vis medicatrix naturae.


14 thoughts on “The Onlie Physick

  1. If it makes you feel any better, my heart does that fairly often – though not for anywhere like as long as yours. Its certainly scary enough when it only lasts 3 or 4 minutes, so I admire your sang froid in ‘keeping calm and carrying on’. You must have British ancestry with a stiff upper lip like that 😉

    • Scots-Irish, Norwegian, possibly Welsh, possibly Dutch, German. As best I can tell.

      One thing is that I know athletes’ hearts tend to become more regular as they beat faster so I knew I could rely on that alone for a reset. And then the burn-off of the adrenalin from being agitated. It’s like clearing your carburetor.

  2. That type of event runs in my family, too — I think it’s more common than people realize, actually, and that it’s frequently mistaken for a panic attack. I’m with you on the ER … I wouldn’t go unless I had a bone sticking out of my flesh, and/or if I were, say, vomiting blood or I was 100% sure I’d had a stroke. Our local hospitals are among the best, easiest to get into, and (reputedly) cleanest in the nation, but even so … I’d rather just die at home, thanks.

  3. My ticker has been doing this for over 25 years – suddenly kicking into overdrive for no apparent reason. Though the one time it lasted for over four hours (a couple of months ago) I did go to emergency. Waste of time. A few pointless tests which led to further testing later on (ultrasound, wearing a holter for 24 hours) that as far as I know haven’t shown the cause of my occasional tachycardia.

    I find yoga breathing helps. But if hanging upside down works for you…

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