I found this site after I became aware yesterday that I had experienced an episode of AF and i have to say that the tenor of support and compassion of the people who post, made me want to join the site, which is something i seldom do.
I am working on an aid project in Cambodia, where first world medical care seems almost unreachable when things strike. On Thursday I got up after a terrible night of high fever topping 40deg C and decided to head to the clinic before work. I imagined that it was an upper UTI from a difficult kidney stone that had been stuck at the entry to my bladder for almost 4 months and so I had all the tests and the doctor brought me the results. I still had the kidney stone, I did have an UTI from the blockage but i also had dengue fever.
So they treated the UTI with antibiotics and dengue with only paracetamol as nothing can stop it and you just have to bear with it and wait it out. Yesterday morning i got up and felt some fluttering in my chest, I had experienced it twice before, once in Bangkok where they put a halter on me and tested for all the things that can be serious and did a echo cardiogram which was normal and nothing showed up on the halter results. So yesterday I though it was just another bout until i felt this kind of shuddering feeling in my chest and my heart began to take off like a runaway train. My home blood pressure kit showed readings as high as 154bpm and so i took my 7 year old off to school (I am a single dad and i have raised him by myself since he was one month old) and got myself to the clinic.
The doctor on duty was from South America and is competent and he hooked me up to the monitors and my heart rate started to hit the high 180bpm and he had an approach that i had not read about since whereby he packed ice packs directly against my neck as he said that there were sensors there that the body used to determine heart rhythm. he also gave me one tablet of metoprolol and after about an hour of anxious looking faces and an ECG that showed AF, my heart stabilised and i headed back to the observation room to continue with the antibioics. i went home and the AF struck again in the afternoon and i did something stupid that I remembered from my police training in Australia in the 1970s, the pre-cardial 'thump' and gave myself one moderate tarzan beat on my chest and the AF stopped immediately.
So now i am hoping to be assessed in Bangkok when the dengue is over with but you can imagine my panic and fear of leaving my 7 year old fatherless... well it was a bad day. Reading this site has given me a much calmer and more re-assured attitude to the illness and to all posters I wish to say thank you. I have lived and worked in developing countries for 18 years and the isolation and lack of access to proper medical care has often been a concern but this is the first time that i was really scared.
Oh, I confessed to the Tarzan thump to the doctor and nurse and they scolded me so I have decided to retire that remedy, however, I did read that someone else had had good success with three hearty coughs, so next time it strikes I plan to make that my reserve strategy.
Thank you for the great site.