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.

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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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