I have had Afib for years now; 25 at least, so I know my own heart and what it feels like. I had an ECG in 1994 and they said that ‘they could see it happening but there was nothing wrong with me’. So I battled on and ignored it as best I could.
In April 2017 I was finally – officially – diagnosed with Afib and put on Bisoporol and Warfarin, both of which I tolerated well. The Bisoporol calmed the worst of the lumpy heartbeat, but I still felt very tired, and (evidently) I still have a fast heartbeat. My G.P. told me to reduce my thyroxine to get the heart rate down. He made an appointment for me to see a cardio specialist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. My last question was, ‘is he a plumber or an electrician?’. He told me, ‘Electrician.’
It didn’t go well.
He wouldn't listen to anything I said about my condition prior to the ‘proper’ diagnosis in April last year; he poo-pooed the idea that I had suffered for years. Saying that I had probably ‘noticed a few ectopic beats’ He wearily endured my tale about air hunger that left me so frightened that I had to empty my bowels instantly on the lawn.
He ‘couldn't find’ the notes from 1994, and barely looked at the results of the ECG and echo-scan thing that I had that morning. He certainly didn't show them to me, nor did he explain anything about it.
He has given me a script for some more pills – Digoxin – which he very carefully explained were extracted from foxgloves!
And he wants me to reduce my thyroxine, which I did a couple of months ago and started falling asleep all the time, so I said ‘I will have to keep a sleep-diary’ and he said ‘you are probably not sleeping well because of the erratic heartbeat’ !! NOT SLEEPING WELL? I could turn it into an Olympic sport. They don’t listen do they?
He didn’t particularly show any interest in the fact that my brother had Afib and has been booked for ablation, cardioversion et al.
He ate his biscuits (yes, really) and let me talk.
I explained that I probably only had 25 years left (I am 70) and I wanted to live them as well as possible; I had endured ME / CFS for maybe 10 years, and I am getting fed up of being ill.
I haven’t even collected my prescription for the Digoxin, but I have started taking magnesium in a last-ditch attempt to improve matters. Any advice on that would be really appreciated.
Have I been short-changed here?
I wonder if I should go out and buy a pace-maker and fit it myself.