Yesterday, I turned 37.
I’m often mistaken as being younger than I am. At first that was funny, then it became annoying (mostly when every bar in the US demanded ID), and then it became flattering. I think…
A couple of weeks ago, I had a wake-up call. I’ve shared the circumstances with a few of my closest friends and family via social networks, but up until now I’ve not been in “broadcast mode”.
For quite a while – I’ll say, randomly and intermittently over several years – I’ve experienced the sensation of a racing heart / palpitations. It has always settled down after a few minutes, after sitting down or breathing sensibly, so I’ve not thought anything of it.
The weekend before last, I was in bed, doing nothing… sat up to take a sip of water – and my heartbeat went crazy. I assumed things would be fine, but after about an hour of the same behaviour with a nagging feeling that it “should” have settled down by now, leading to a subconscious panic loop, probably making it worse, I headed to casualty / A&E (that’s the ER, for my US friends). Oh, this was at past midnight on a Friday night, in a London suburb.
I expected to be put on the back of a queue of more pressing cases, but was seen nearly immediately; wired up to oxygen and saline; measured with a peak heart rate of 211bpm; and discovered to be suffering from supraventricular tachycardia, aka SVT. Moments before I was medicated, my body set itself right, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (aside from lasting 90-ish minutes…).
It’s a known issue, and through reading about it I’m going to say more than likely in my case exacerbated by a mad and over-macho caffeine habit (my “regular” coffee order has been 4-shot Americano… with Red Bull on the back end of the day), alcohol, and poor eating and sleeping habits (caused by personal issues also not broadcast). I’ve yet to bottom out the absolute cause if there is one, but I’m instrumenting myself with Fitbit and Withings to track my health far more thoroughly from now on. Over the last 12 days I’ve mostly cut out caffeine. Intellectually, I know that this is a good thing… if only my body would catch up with the memo!
So, yep – 37 years young, probably long heading for a crash, and now my body delivers a wake-up call. I’ve long known I’m not in peak shape, leading the sedentary lifestyle of many a developer / techie. However – I’m fine, before folks fuss – and I’m getting the attention I need. The UK National Health Service was amazing in looking after me and reassuring me, and the next steps are down to a joint effort in proper diagnosis, and preventative measures.
Fun times… (!) I do want to thank a particular individual for getting me the help I needed when I needed it – my family for their love – and the close friends I’d previously shared this with for their support. Believe me that this is top of my list of priorities to “fix” – what techie enjoys a problem where the root cause is unknown? More detailed debugging is required!
Oh – and a totally self-serving finale to this post – if you follow me online and want to say “thank you” or whatever for my contributions to the interwebz, I have various online wish lists, but feel free to wish me a belated happy birthday via Amazon
 hoping to learn from Dan Hon’s Quantified Self adventure. So far, I’m learning that my blood pressure needs a rest…
Note: comments closed on this one. You know where to find me online!
- My Not-So-Crazy Supraventricular Tachycardia Update (saltyrunning.com)