About ten years ago, I had an episode of "afib" (they called it tachycardia and arrhythmia) and went to an emergency room. I was given a drug through an IV. It returned the timing to the normal rate. I took a bus home.
On Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 I had an episode of rapid heart beat (about 135 beats or more) and irregular timing. I waited until Friday evening. I went to the emergency room of the nearest hospital, in Auburn. I stayed for two days for tests and observation.
I special ordered plain, whole food and got it, though with some discussion of what "fruit, vegetables, potatoes, no animal products, and no seeds (grains, beans, peas, nuts, etc.)" really means. As usual, always end with a specific order: "I want carrots, a baked potato, and a fruit plate. It's okay to give me that at every meal."
After the first meal, I had to double my order. I had cleaned the plates. The dietician was impressed. Most patients, she said, are too sick to eat. The dietician actually checks the returning plates to adjust the amounts for the next meal. She doubled mine.
Lab tests, including ultrasound, show I have afib. At 66, I have no thyroid, "heart protein," kidney, liver, blood, lung embolism, or other problems -- except a slightly enlarged heart and afib (emptying about 45% instead of the normal 65%).
At home, I am feeling better each day. I am back up to walking 1 hour per day so far (down from 2 hours before this episode), eating three meals at regular times (but in half the amount that I did before) and sleep well. I am mildly alarmed at the weight loss. I was only 125 lbs. at the hospital. (I am six feet tall, but very active normally.) One of the two daily BMs has been diarrhea. I assume that is the dinner and breakfast meals combined. Those are the two meals in which I take medication (Metoprol).
I have strictly followed my subset of the McDougall Program for six years. (See the second website address below my name at the bottom.) It has cured almost all of my inflammation problems. It didn't prevent this problem. (The McDougall Program doesn't guarantee everlasting life and perfect health.)
In the hospital I resisted most of the prescriptions that the heart ward automatically assigns to every patient (based on the general population): stool softener (I eat a high-fiber diet!), pain reliever (I have no pain!), antiacid (I have no acid reflux!). I did agree to take a minimal amount (12.5 mg, 2x daily) of Metoprol which apparently is a beta-blocker that suppresses heart rate. It works generally well. (I also found that deep breathing and concentrated relaxation help control the rate.)
I refused to take Coumadin (Warfarin) because the side-effects are potentially awful for some individuals. I am instead taking an 81 mg aspirin (which is the "baby" version I think) at lunch, as a blood "thinner" (actually, "anti-clotter"), to minimize the chance of stroke resulting from blood clots that come from incomplete emptying of the atria.
Thursday, Dec. 30, I am scheduled to see a primary care physician for the first time here in Kent, Wa. (I moved here a few months ago.) He then will, I hope, refer me to a cardiologist, if I can find one who will take a minimalist approach rather than an aggressive, pharmaceutical-sodden approach.
I welcome any tips. I have no fear of death. I have lived a full life and I have achieved all my main goals in life. What I fear is sliding down the miserable pharmaceutical spiral, getting worse and worse from taking drugs that compensate for drugs that compensate for other drugs.
The conflict I see is that drugs like Coumadin might reduce the chance of a stroke, but is the chance big enough to justify the side effects? I am not sure.
I have read Dr. McDougall's article on afib here: http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/mar/fav5.htm
He does not completely oppose Coumadin, but he urges caution and a conservative approach.
I am not asking for medical advice. No one here can or should give that. I am asking for leads to alternatives. For example, I know that drinking chamomile tea has been soothing to me in the past, relaxing me and helping me sleep better. I haven't started drinking it again because I want to find out first if there might be reasons not to.
All suggestions welcome.