• Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Skittery Heart

CRIMINALS BEWARE: the elderly take compensatory security measures.

Skittery Heart

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2021

My maternal grandmother used to complain of her skittery heart, and she protected herself in her later years by spending many hours ensconced in her living room recliner, a plump little old lady reading romance novels and talking to family. She lived into her early 90s.

I too have a skittery heart, with frequent episodes where my heart shudders rapidly, with light contractions inside my chest, first this way then that way, too quickly. This is unnerving and exhausting. Like my grandmother before me I now spend time reclining, even between ordinary household chores, to recover and steady myself. My heart sometimes fibrillates, which I manage by 1) not panicking, and by 2) firmly compressing then releasing my chest with my arms to squeeze my heart back into rhythm. This takes patience and courage especially when my skittery heart is beating around in my chest as if trying to escape. In addition, I have learned to pace my heart, to pace my activities, so as to live my life to the fullest. This works less and less as I age. I need new workarounds to manage my weak heart if I am to achieve my 90s.

Over the years, I have not been able to get an effective response from medical professionals for my heart and breathing problems so I asked some of my friends to write what they were observing to see if their statements would help me get medical treatment. The following medical incidents in the past decade give me pause, but hopefully not of my heart, not yet.

Statement by my best friend on 04-13-12.

Statement by another friend on 04-19-12.

Statement by my best friend on March 15, 2014.

In 1999 and in 2014 I wore a Holter heart monitor for 48 hours to assess my heartbeats. Both times the heart monitor recorded AF (atrial fibrillation), frequent symptomatic PVC's (Premature ventricular contractions), and episodes of atrial tachycardia (abnormally fast heartbeat, up to 100 times per minute, which is very uncomfortable, and definitely scary. Further, "Evidence is emerging to indicate that atrial fibrillation (AF) is independently associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD)." - random internet source. The doctors seemed unconcerned.

CRIMINALS BEWARE: the elderly take compensatory security measures.

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