Make My Heart Skip a Beat

One of the fun things I’ve discovered about turning 40 is that there are always new and interesting ways for my body to rebel against me.

For example, for the end of December and most of January, I got to wear this incredibly sexy telemetry heart event monitor for 30 days, all the time, under my clothes. I guess I am grateful that it wasn’t summertime, but even under bulky sweaters, it’s hard to feel 100% confident when you have a weird gray cord hanging down from your shirt.

Home medical monitoring is TOTALLY hot.
Home medical monitoring is TOTALLY hot.

The reason for this questionable fashion accessory is, well, a middle-age mystery. Two years ago I started having these weird heart flutters, occasionally accompanied by mild chest pain. The first time it happened, I absolutely freaked the fuck out and took myself to the emergency room. Tests, tests, tests and… nothing.

I remembered every client I’d helped with panic attacks and tried to just calm myself down, but the fluttery things happened even when I was calm or exercising (highly unusual for panic attacks – exercise tends to prevent them). Two trips to the cardiologist, more tests, a new cardiologist, and nothing. Stress test, EKG, ECG, EPT (just in case) and… nothing.

Lots of googling and WebMD and talking with friends and family with similar experiences and I decided that what I have going on might be PVCs, a common heart flutter that are generally harmless. But no matter how many times I visit the new cardiologist, whatever is going on never seems to go on in the office.

So I wore the damn monitor for 30 days, fiddled with the cords, pressed the little button every time I felt a flutter, reapplied electrode pads every time I showered. The only thing holding me together through the whole pain in the ass experience was the knowledge that I would finally know what was going on.

I called in last week to finally get the results and… NOTHING.

Everything is normal.


Apparently it’s up to me to figure out the common thread of when the flutters happen so I can try to prevent them. Here are some things I’ve found that seem to trigger them:

  • Being stressed
  • Being totally relaxed
  • Caffeine
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Red wine
  • Avoiding red wine
  • Being sad about David Bowie
  • Eating bread
  • Eating sugar
  • Thinking about bread or sugar
  • Acid reflux
  • Wednesday
  • January
  • Forgetting my supplements
  • Taking my supplements
  • Exercising
  • Watching TV
  • A rough day at work
  • A great night with the kids
  • Donald Trump’s hair
  • Wondering what’s causing the flutters

For now, I guess the mystery has to remain just that. At least most of the information I’ve gathered points to the palpitations being nothing serious. And if nothing else, maybe I have something to learn by paying closer attention to the rhythm of my heart.

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a distracted writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction. She blogs erratically with writing advice, random observations, and reflections on raising very loud kids and dogs. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

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