Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Long Day

Clif's heart is still not beating regularly. He's in atrial fibrillation and has been since September after being in rhythm for 2 years. It's been an ongoing battle with him since just after the triplets came home from the NICU almost 3 years ago.

The doctor wanted to try to do a cardioversion to get him back into rhythm. He had to be at the hospital at 7:30 am. Off we went with the kids in tow (in pajamas). We dropped daddy off at the hospital, came home for breakfast and a change of clothes, then on to preschool. I got to the hospital 15 minutes before they were supposed to shock him and they had already done it.

I met the doctor just outside of his room and he said that it didn't work. He wanted to try an IV anti-arrhythmia medication and try again in an hour. They had shocked him 3 times and his heart didn't even try to get back into normal sinus rhythm. We agreed to try the drug (even after Clif found out he would have to stay for monitoring for 4 hours after they administered it).

He had some issues with a high QT number. I don't really understand what that is technically, but it has to do with the speed at which the conduction system in your heart works. If, when giving this drug, the QT goes over 500, they are required to stop. Otherwise, his heart could slow down too much. His got to 534, so he only got 1/2 of a dose of the meds.

They tried the second conversion 30 minutes later. No dice. The doc said that he can just stay on the medicine (blood thinners, etc.) and he should be fine. The big reason for getting him back into rhythm was to get him off of blood thinners.

He had the shock paddles administered a total of 5 times yesterday and came home with orders to rest. His chest and back look like he's been hit with a branding iron. What we thought would be a couple of hours yesterday morning turned into an all day affair. I had to leave him at the hospital to pick up the kids at 1:30 and return to pick him up at 2:30. We didn't return home until 3pm.

As he rested and the kids got into wild-evening mode things got crazy.

Dinner wasn't planned. We've all (except Clif) been battling strep throat since Thanksgiving and Mommy has slipped on her planning...and laundry...and housework...and [fill in the blank]. While trying to figure out what to fix, Austin managed to get himself in timeout. I have no recollection of why. I just remember him needing to go.

While Austin was in timeout John and Tyler were in the kitchen. Lauren was in the bathroom. Austin decided a good tactic to get out of timeout was to request a trip to the bathroom. I let him go and began cleaning up a mess and went to check on Clif. I returned to the living room to hear water running. Austin had the sink in the half bath filled to the brim. Ten seconds more and we would have had it running over the sink.

Lauren was in the bathroom with him filling the toilet with toilet tissue. She had wet her underpants and pants. As I escorted them out of the bathroom I rounded the corner to see John playing his air guitar telling his 'audience'..."Thank you for coming! Thank you...thank you...thank you very much." I started to chuckle until I saw Tyler. He had an empty gallon jug of milk perched up on the water dispenser of the refrigerator. Water was pouring all around the jug opening and onto the floor.

As I reported this whole scenario to Clif all he could do was laugh. Some days that's all you can do. I still had to go to Wal Mart for preschool Christmas party gifts and pull ups. Then I had to come home and wrap those gifts.

I'm not hopeful that our Christmas cards will get delivered before Christmas, so if you're on our list...I hope you understand.


Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

poor Clif my thoughts and prayers are with him

and oh what a evening u had!!!


Steve said...


My name is Steve and I just happened to get your post about Clif delivered to my email by some sort of feed I subscribe to. Anyway - I am 52 years old, you don't say how old Clif is but until I was 51 never had a serious health problem. I was then diagnosed(see my story at the url below)with long term Atrial Fibrillation. I didn't even know at first. I am now on a drug called Tikosyn(dofidalide), a relatively new arrhythmia drug - came out in 2001. I too had be "shocked" or Cardioverted numerous(3)times and my heart never would stay in normal sinus rhythm. I spontanously converted back on the 2nd pill of Tikosyn and have been fine for 9 months now with little or no side effects. Myabe Clif should check into this.
P.S. - I never had any luck with the other drugs tried. (amioderone made me sick!)

Good Luck and Merry Christmas