That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 16 (The “Beginning of My Time at Massachusetts General” Chapter)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

It’s Wednesday, so the story continues.

Last week, I left off being admitted to Mass Gen.

Mass Gen has a different vibe than Tufts. I think Tufts is a smaller hospital – it definitely felt smaller. At Tufts, we were all BFFs, dancing to Michael Jackson, laughing, joking, etc. Tufts was like a fancy vacation – room service, entertainment, all that jazz.

Mass Gen was like a hospital. An amazing hospital, for sure, but still a hospital. I did interact with many wonderful people. I’m not trying to insinuate that they were any less nice or pleasant at Mass General than they were at Tufts. It’s just that playtime was over. Also, they had actual pre-planned meal times. Room service was no more.

But as far as my heart goes – which is I suppose the most important part, right? – I couldn’t have asked for better care.

The doctors were thorough, pleasant, focused on getting me cured, brilliant – all that good stuff.

Last week, I talked about how I ended up at Mass Gen basically through idiocy. But in the end, it was probably the best thing that could’ve happened. Had I been more responsible, and not pushed myself to the breaking point – I imagine months and months of trying to get an appointment for a second opinion, and follow-up appointments, and communicating between two hospitals, and trying various medicines and things.

But, boom. I made a didn’t-seem-too-smart-at-the-time decision that ended up helping me immensely. In one morning I became a patient at Massachusetts General. The doctors fiercely look out for you there, as if you are their own child.

So, there I was, admitted to Mass Gen. And they decided to do their own ablation/EP study to test my accessory pathway to see how fast it can conduct um, the electricity through my heart? Is electricity the right word? Anyway, conduction, accessory pathway, EP study.

At Tufts, I got a lot more of whatever that medicine is that kind of takes me out of my situation. I didn’t remember that ablation as much. At Mass Gen, I was somewhat alert. I was still in and out, but I remember this one being far clearer.

I vaguely remember talking to people in the room about avocados. (They brought ‘em up, not me (in case you’re wondering).) And I remember my chest literally thumping up and down uncontrollably at some point. It was so weird. I could see and feel it happening, but couldn’t do anything at all to stop it or change it.

The doctors didn’t let that thumping go on all that long. I heard them talking to each other, and they put a pretty quick stop it.

As far as the test part – I don’t know all the numbers and everything. I just remember there being a line that puts you in dangerous territory. At Tufts, my number was right around the line. And at Mass Gen, my number was over the line into the danger zone.

They explained this difference at Mass Gen by saying something along the lines of – tests can have slightly different outcomes based on the day, and person performing it, and all that biznatch. Also, the amount of that medicine stuff that takes you out of it – the more you have, the lower the threshold for how fast your heart will beat when stressed by the doctors.

(I think I’m getting the gist of the explanation. I hope there aren’t a bunch of doctors out there reading my blog, exclaiming “She has no idea what she’s talking about!” Obviously, I’m just a patient, and I’m writing this close to three years after the fact. So, this story is, of course, colored by my memory and experiences. But I’m trying to get it as correct as possible. (I think I’m doing a pretty fine job of it.))

I think I had the test the day after I got admitted, so I knew it was coming. But I still didn’t give a warning to my dad. We’ll get into that next week.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?