Heart, Hospital and The What What.


A few weeks ago, I went in to the Hollywood Clinic, because I had been feeling sick since January. Short of breath, bloated, tired, not hungry. I thought it was the FLU. Nope.

While I was at the clinic, they said my heart rate was 153 and that it appeared that I was having a heart attack and to get to the ER ASAP. It went like this:

Doctor: You’re having a heart attack.

Me: It doesn’t feel like it.

Doctor: Trust me you are. You need to go to ER immediately!

Me: You want me to drive there? You think that’s safe?

Doctor: Yes.

Me: When has it ever been safe to drive during a heart attack? Should you call an ambulance?

Doctor: That will take too long!

Me: Okay, cool a heart attack that you can drive with. I must be Italian. Oh wait, I am somewhat I think.

So, I did what any normal person who was told he was having a heart attack would do, I drove home, took a shower, and packed a bag. I sat on my bed and had some chocolate pretzels, and some bottled water. Called a friend and had them come get me.

Drove to Cedar’s Sinai Hospital where they admitted me immediately and said that I was not having a heart attack, but it appeared that I have heart failure. They lowered my heart rate and kept me for several days. They checked my arteries, they were clear. They checked blood pressure and cholesterol, both fine. So why was/is my heart rate insane?  They didn’t know. They threw pills at me.

They gave me tons of meds. Beta blockers, water pills, blood pressure meds, blood thinners, magnesium sulfate, and vitamins and sent me on my way. They told me that I was okay to travel and do shows in Milwaukee, but to take it easy.  Vague, but alright.

I travelled to Milwaukee with an arsenal of meds, including syringes that I had to shoot myself in the stomach with. The walking was insanely difficult. However, the actual shows were easy. I spent the rest of the downtime in bed. I was exhausted.  I should not have gone, but I am the only one who pays me and I had no choice. I needed the money, and that’s that.

Came home, went to my follow up visit with the doctors and they said, I looked great, was responding to the meds wonderfully and on the right track. I was fine to go to Dallas and to start exercising and they even reduced the doses of some of my blood thinners. Sweet!

I went to Dallas, did the shows, took it easy, and came back for my final cardiologist appointment yesterday. I hadn’t noticed, but my stomach was liquid bloated again and so were my ankles and feet. Like huge.  The doctors said my heart was functioning at 9 percent and that I needed to go to the ER immediately. However, they also said I looked good, but it was deceiving? So, I did what any normal person told to go to the ER immediately would do, I drove home, took a shower, packed a bag and had a buddy drop me off here again. They admitted me and this is what I know:

I have something called Atrial Fibrillation (The most common cardiac arrhythmia,) an enormous clot on my heart, fluid for days in my belly, lungs and ankles, and Congestive Heart Failure. I got it from a virus when I was stuck in the polar vortex. Wasn’t booze, drugs, sex, rock and roll, bacon, or pudding. I caught a virus at an airport.  Go figure.

Depending on the doctor, they all say something different. Here are my favorites:

“We will try our best.”

“You are very sick. Is your family close?”

“I have seen people live to a hundred with this, it’s very common.”

“This is rare.”

“We can fix this.”

“It’s all about how you respond.”

“I don’t know.”

“You got this.”

So,  as I sit here and wait to speak with my new team of Doctors today, I know that I have been told I will be here a week and I have also been told I will be going home today. I just want to fix this. I was also told, I would be getting my heart zapped into normal rhythm.  I am listening, asking all the right questions and obeying their diet and instructions. I am also determined and capable of handling a lot of pain and struggle. I will either beat this or find a way to live a long life with this. Everyone suffers setbacks. Everyone. But experience has taught me, most are well disguised.  So, in conclusion, I am sick, but I don’t feel it. I am lucky that they found whatever this is twice now early and to me that means, I am supposed to be here and still have things to do. I believe that.  Onward and upward always, especially when it’s super hard to move. Glitter