October 25, 2007

It's My Birthday

Two years ago today, the worst thing to ever happen to me occurred.  I was taken out of the Duck U. Bookstore on a gurney.  My heart had decided to go wild; a pulse rate so fast the EMTs couldn't count it, and a blood pressure so high that it was off their cuff's scale.

Imagine sprinting as fast as you can for a mile.  At the end of it, your heart would probably still be beating slower than mine was.

It's called 'superventricular tachycardia', and it's actually fairly common.  The doctors at the ER told me that they see "a couple of people" every day with much the same symptoms.  In my case, however, my blood chemistry was completely screwed up.  In particular, my potassium and magnesium levels had cratered.  According to one nurse, and I have no idea what these numbers mean, a 4.0 reading is considered normal for these particular levels.

Mine were around 1.0.  They kept me overnight, hooked me up to an IV tree and pumped bags of the stuff into me (the potassium burned).  The next day, I had a prescription for a betablocker, which I'll probably be on for the rest of my life.

It must be working, because other than a 10-minute long episode back in September 2006 that wasn't half as bad as The Incident, I've been fine.

SVT is not life-threatening for the most part.  Tony Blair, the recently retired Prime Minister of England, had an attack back in 2003.  In his case, the doctors decided to perform a procedure called catheter ablation on him... roughly a year later.  In his case, being the leader of a country and all, it made sense.  In  my case, since I'm a duck with no particular history in this sort of thing, they decided against it... but if it starts to occur frequently in the future, it's an option

Like last year, I'm going to end this post with a request.  If something weird is going on with your heart, be it SVT, chest pains, tightness, or whatever, don't be tough.  Call 9-1-1 immediately.  You don't want to mess around with stuff like that, because, quite honestly, you can DIE if you wait.

And I don't want to lose any of my readers from something I can help prevent.

Now, lets put on party hats and break out the noisemakers!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:18 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 400 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Congratulations on turning two. You must be the youngest F1 expert online.

Posted by: Don at October 25, 2007 05:11 AM (p0z2b)



That condition sounds very much like something a friend's father went through recently. His heart rate was so high it was more like a vibration than a pulse. He wasn't moving any blood. Now they've got him on a pace-maker to keep his rhythms in check.

Posted by: Will at October 25, 2007 09:19 AM (WnBa/)

3 Congrats to Wonderduck on his big day! I don't think I'd begun reading here at the time of your "episode"... but I think when you posted about it last year on your b-day I went back and read it in the archives. Good to have you still with us and I agree with the advice. Always good to keep a handle on the ol' ticker.

Best Wishes!

Posted by: madmike at October 25, 2007 10:35 AM (o+iiH)


It also looks like you got a persistent spambot for your birthday.

Posted by: Will at October 25, 2007 11:36 AM (WnBa/)

5 I suffered from something similar when I was younger. My doctor told me that I had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome; it too is a form of tachycardia, where there is a deformation of the electrical sack that allows the electrical impulses excite the ventricles before it is supposed to be excited. It first appeared when I was out in the front-yard playing football with my family. Finally, after a few more occurrences, one that lasted three hours, I went to the doctor. After an EKG showed what I had, I went to a cardiac electrophysiologist and had an RF Ablation procedure performed. I was in the OR for somewhere between four and six hours. Thankfully, however, they got both slits and I have not had a recurrence since.

However, Wonderduck, I am glad to hear that you were able to get out of your episode with few repercussions. I hope you don’t have to go through anything like that again. Also, congratulations on two years.

I, too, agree with your advice. It is always best to end up in the hospital with a problem, then to be tough and end up dead.

Posted by: Kyle Gottfried at October 25, 2007 01:08 PM (hn1nw)

6 Happy birthday!  Good to hear that you haven't had anymore episodes.

Oh, and I've tweaked the spam filters for you.  Need to put the adaptive filter in place; I'll look at that later today.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 25, 2007 04:38 PM (PiXy!)


I think Will just said something off-color... and fortunately, a pacemaker is nowhere near my future, unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.  I hear they pick up satellite radio these days, though, so that'd be a bonus. 

And that spambot is driving me up a wall... hopefully Big Papa Pixy's fix will deal with it for me.  A better birthday gift I could not ask for.

Except, maybe, for... well, this is a family blog.

Mike, glad to have you on board...  Thanks for sticking around!

Kyle, the emdees were concerned about WPW in my case, too... but because there hasn't really been a reoccurance, they've pretty much ruled it out.  Sounds like you had a pretty ick case of it, too.  Glad you're okay, and thanks for dropping by for F1 UPDATE!s, too.

I don't wish this sort of thing on my worst enemy, but friends and readers like y'all almost make it worth it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 25, 2007 07:46 PM (UdB9M)

8 Wonderduck said:

a pacemaker is nowhere near my future, unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong. I hear they pick up satellite radio these days, though, so that'd be a bonus.

Dude, my crazy friends tell me you get the best signals through your dental fillings anyway, so don't go for that pacemaker - it's a ripoff.

Happy Birthday.

Posted by: astro at October 26, 2007 09:48 PM (RXNsB)


What? A guy can't write happy birthday without being accused of lowering the level of discourse around here?

I feel besmirched.

Posted by: Will at October 28, 2007 08:02 PM (E3UGR)

10 Yes, yes, but was I wrong, Will?

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 28, 2007 10:24 PM (UdB9M)


Well, If I was looking to make friends and influence people, I'd say something more like...

Wait... no... I can't do it. I won't do it.

Posted by: Will at October 29, 2007 11:28 PM (E3UGR)

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