Heartbeat

For as long as I can remember, I have had a fairly slow pulse rate. It usually hovers around 60 at resting. I am by no means what anyone would consider athletic, although I think I am in fairly good health (cancer not withstanding).

Within the last couple years, a doctor detected a murmur in my sister’s heart, and she was diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse as a result of Marfan Syndrome. Sounds pretty scary, but hers is very mild and should very likely never cause her any problems. Nonetheless, given that I have many of the same Marfan characteristics (long arms, legs, and fingers; tall and thin body type; curved spine; flexible joints), I brought it up with my physician, who recommended an EKG. I went in for my annual exam yesterday, and she and the nurse both commented on how low my blood pressure was (96/80) and how slow my heartbeat was (58bpm). Sensing a challenge, my heart said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”, and when they had me lie down and hooked me up for the EKG, my pulse came in at 48bpm – a condition known as bradycardia.

My doctor said it’s possible I just have a large heart – to which I replied, “No, duh!” – but recommended I go get an ultrasound to be sure.

Is this sounding familiar?

This is the same doctor who felt the fat lump in my breast and correctly diagnosed it as nothing, but recommended an ultrasound “just to be sure” – which is how my breast cancer was detected. So naturally, I am nervous.

I called the ultrasound place today and tried to schedule, but they have to wait for preauthorization from my insurance company, which usually takes about a week, according to them. I know this is SOP and really shouldn’t piss me off but it does because that means I have a week with my fears and Dr. Google. And I know this will probably be nothing but it does appear that in some cases of bradycardia a pacemaker needs to be implanted to speed your heart up to normal, and since I’m already 39 and in fucking menopause, I don’t really need something else to make me feel 60. Also, it should probably be noted that my grandmother died of heart disease.

On the bright side, I don’t have some of the other factors that point to bradycardia as a result of heart disease – I have a low blood pressure and, per my doctor, “Excellent cholesterol!” So I guess I just have to wait for the ultrasound and see what it turns up.

Boo bureaucracy.

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