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What's AF like? Well...

I remember someone recently asking what AF feels like... I myself tried to answer when ITV poked their heads up recently, an interview that got cut to the rather lame 'it feels like bubbles'... Well, sometimes, it does feel like my chest is boiling.

Had another episode Thursday night and found myself grimly thinking about this. Normally, the heart beats like a Viennese waltz - one two three, one two three, lovely sine wave, lovely sine wave... Then when it goes into AF it's like a blasted salsa, capering about all over the place probably with an inappropriate cocktail in its hand.

Take Thursday night. It was like having the builders in. Bang! Bang! Bang! actually woke me up, then kept on for hours as if someone was hammering a nail in and not doing a very good job of it. In between running to the loo (a charming side effect) and dozing it swapped to going 'moosh moosh moosh', as if it was pretending it wasn't beating at all, just to give me something extra to think about. I reckon, rough count, it goes up to 170bpm.

At one point it was so rough and unruly I thought, this is like Alien, and I'm John Hurt, the darned thing is going to explode out of my chest at any moment and go on a rampage eating the neighbours. I won't be flavour of the month in the village when that happens...

Okay, I know, apologies, my humour's always been inappropriate... And yet, weirdly, some people don't feel AF at all. I'd like to say they're lucky, because having this sort of caper going on in your chest and then feeling like you've run a marathon afterwards, when everyone's demanding breakfast, isn't so funny. But of course the risk of stroke is the same whether you feel like your heart's in a tumble dryer or not. One thing that saddened me was that the TV thing cut out the plea for people to check their pulse, which is really important. AF's not really a laughing matter...

20 Replies
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Oh you have made me laugh and cheered me up no end! Thank you. I understand your AF symptoms completely. It always amazes me how in the same bout (I'm on my 7th day) the heart beat pattern and intensity can change so much.

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Yes, it's amazing, but not in a good way - so sorry to hear you've had a week-long bout! I hope everything goes back to normal soon - take care.

Lis

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"it's like a blasted salsa, capering about all over the place probably with an inappropriate cocktail in its hand."

Yep that describes my life really :)

But then I am in AF continuously, so now I have an excuse

Ian

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Hahaha yes Ian, definitely... :D

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OH Lis that so explains how we all fell I am sure. I once described it as having small furry animals running around in there and one lady mentioned two unruly teanagers having a pillow fight.. I do love your humour so keep it coming. I love inappropriate!

Bob

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I love the small furry animals and unruly teenagers - describes it very well! Thank you :)

Lis

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Years ago I described the AF I had then as like a rabbit trying to jump out of my chest. That was very advanced AF, but just didn't know at the time.

Then, 2 years ago, I got a tiny, and I mean tiny little twitching under my left armpit. It was a bit like an eyelid twitch but in a different place. I felt ridiculous going to the GP, who completely ignored me, then I insisted on being referred to an EP, had a monitor fitted and it was AF. And on the basis on that tiny little twitching, he did an ablation.

Love your story Eatsalottie, made me smile.

Koll

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Thanks Koll :) I would never have guessed AF could be like that, it's a good thing you realised there was something wrong! It just shows you, it can take all sorts of forms...

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Some very good descriptions there of how AF feels, and it is different for everyone. Love the Alien analogy :) When I had my last episode in December, I remember thinking of those bouncing toy balls that were all the rage when my kids were little in the early 90's, they were called Bumble balls. Felt like one of those in my chest!

Cheers, Gaye

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I remember the Bumble balls! Yes, I know what you mean!

Cheers

Lis

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G'day Eatsalottie,

In the early days and probably up to about a year ago I would describe it as a mob of octopuses wriggling away in my chest and trying to break out or a squadron or two of butterflies flying around. But then of course I'm one of those weirdos who can be in AF and not know it or feel it !

Aussie John

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G'day John,

Haha, mob of octopuses describes it well... If you know you have AF and you don't always feel it, that sounds good to me!

Lis

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all of the above plus heart feels like bouncing off walls

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Yes, absolutely...

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i call AF Alone and Frustrated! and AF feels like rats, wrapping themselves round my heart...horrible!! we all describe it different but we can all agree it a horrible condition to have. So good luck every one xx

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Good luck to you too! Yes, it is a horrible condition... Wish someone would invent a magic wand that would make it disappear!

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I described mine as feeling like Popeye, you know the bit where his heart jumps out of his chest and beating when he looks at Olive! Which reminds me of watching cartoons as a child and then I smile which makes me feel less anxious, oh for the cause to be love again!

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Oh, if only... That's really a rather nice image! Good to have something to make you smile :)

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Not sure if this will be the last description Eatsalottie but I always describe my irregular heartbeats as feeling like a 'flapping fish' sensation.

Keep the good work up with your wonderful sense of humour, have you noticed how light hearted everybody becomes when given the chance to express their symptoms that only we AFer's can understand.

Good luck to all of the above hopefully, there will be many days of sunshine on our AF journey.

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Yes indeed - a flapping fish or jumping frog, exactly! Thank you for the kind words, and yes it is really nice to have the chance to be light-hearted sometimes, among ourselves, isn't it? I love your wish for many days of sunshine, I will join you in that one, for all of us :)

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