Last summer Paul had been feeling noticeably more tired than usual and had begun to sense fluttery palpatations in his chest. He had suffered this problem a few years back, when we were still living in the UK, for which he had received his first Cardioversion treatment.
Following an ECG our Italian Cardiologist found that Paul was once again experiencing Atrial Fibrillation, or an Arrhythmia – in simple terms, an irregular heartbeat. Paul was immediately started on Warfarin anticoagulant medicine to help thin the blood. This is because while the heart is not pumping effectively, stale blood can pool in the chambers, risking the formation of a clot which could possibly break loose, risking a thrombosis leading to a stroke.
After having waited several months, finally, last Thursday afternoon we received a phone call inviting Paul to go into the Cardiology Department at 5 pm on the very same day. Thus followed a few hours of panic, getting everything ready. Our good friends Marilyn and Clive kindly dropped everything and came straight over to give us a lift to the hospital in Formia.
When we arrived there, the nurses were expecting us and soon got stuck into the pre-admission checks to confirm that results were all favourable to go ahead with Paul’s Cardioversion. These involved an ECG, an Echocardiogram, blood tests and checking blood INR levels for the last several weeks.
Paul was eventually admitted and allocated a bed in the UTIC section of the Cardiology Department. The procedure was scheduled for the following day.
I managed OK on my own at “Tre Cancelle”. The dogs did a wonderful job of looking after me in Paul’s absence. Louby in particular was very loving and stayed close by my side, sensing that something was not quite right.
The next morning, in preparation, the smiling nurses seemed to take great pleasure in taking a razor to his chest hair. Then Paul was anesthetised before being “zapped” (administered an electric shock) on the chest by the paddles of the defibrillator.
When Paul awoke he said he hadn’t felt a thing and was much relieved to find out that his heart had been restored to a Normal Sinus Rhythm.
Paul remained in hospital overnight for observation and was finally discharged the following morning. Once again Clive and Marilyn kindly provided a taxi service. He was glad to be home to see England play versus Ireland the Six Nations Tournament.
Paul is already experiencing the benefit of the Cardioversion, feeling generally much less out of breath. The only down side is that he is scratching like a dog where his chest has been shaved and eagerly awaits regrowth. I did offer to perform a total chest wax on him, but this somehow fell on deaf ears !!!
The doctors have said that he will now have to stay permanently on Warfarin and that he will need to be monitored periodically.
Just to say thanks to all the staff in Cardiologia
for their skill and care,
and many thanks to Clive and Marilyn
for all their help and support !!!
* photo by Ellipsis-Imagery Chris OBrien