Because of my little adventure involving a helicopter over the new year, I was booked in to an appointment with a new specialist last Friday. He did a check on Zappy, and then confirmed what the nurses in the hospital had said - that he would want to upgrade Zappy for a better model.
To explain a little bit about my condition (Long QT Syndrome), I basically have an electrical fault that means that my heart doesn't beat correctly sometimes. Apparently the slower my heart rate, the longer the Q-T interval (you know how when you see a heart rate monitor on TV there's a big spike and then a little spike? Well the interval between the big and little spikes is called the Q-T interval (Q and T are the names of different components of the spikes)), the more likely it is that my heart will play up, which initially begins with atrial fibrillation (the atrium - the first bit that beats - spazzing out, which is an invconvenient but non-fatal condition), but in my case, can continue through to the ventricle and cause the ventricle to fibrillate (twitch/flutter, i.e. not pump blood properly) which can become a fatal arrhythmia if it doesn't correct itself. Yep, those 25 years I was untreated I was pretty bloody lucky not to be laid out on a slab!
Anyway, Zappy Mk1 has a single lead into the ventricle, to allow him to defibrillate my heart, should the ventricle "beat" at a rate in excess of about 210bpm. Your average person may think that a little risky, but considering the dose of beta-blockers I am on, I would be hard pressed to raise my heartrate that high through exercise, so it safe to assume that if my heart is beating that fast, that it's not beating at all - it's twitching.
|Source - Yale Medical Group|
Oh, and there's another difference - my boobs are bigger. Slightly.
Zappy Mk2 will also have a lead in the atrium, so that he can pace the atrium whenever it drops below 70 or so beats per minute (which for me is all the time - my resting heartrate is rarely above about 50bpm, and my overnight heart rate has been known to drop to 28bpm, which, as anyone who knows how little I resemble an Olympic athlete would realise, is a little odd), and therefore hopefully prevent my Q-T interval from being so long, and therefore prevent the majority of the ectopic beats and therefore have a lower risk of a cardiac event. That means that, even though there will be a lead in the vetricle in case things get that bad, the chance of things getting bad enough for a zap to be delivered will be much lower.
But I've been feeling really ordinary for the last couple of weeks, and feeling quite wonky for no reason, and being tired all the time, and being scared all the time, and continually reaching to feel my pulse when I don't feel quite right (because that's TOTALLY going to prevent me from ending up unconscious on the floor...), and panting when I walk a block on flat ground to the supermarket, and I hate that, too. Hate it hate it hate it.
So I guess, when I weigh that up with the surgery, and add the fact I will quite likely be fed jelly and icecream, I guess it makes it worthwhile. Jelly's good like that.