Last Saturday I woke up to a chilling message.
A friend of the family, who had spent some three weeks in hospital, passed away. The doctors did everything possible (he reported every procedure they did on him, and we double checked with other doctors... they were using as many medical tools as possible) and yet he died a horrifying death. Slowly grasping for the last few molecules of air that his knackered lungs could absorb. He’s survived by a wife and a child. He was the sole earner in the family.
He was fifty, and had diabetes. When he shared the results, we knew it was practically a death sentence. Even though I’m in much better health than he was, the spectrum of death is still present. Whoever catches this disease and is not acutely aware that it might be the bug that kills them is a fool.
Last night I noticed I was somewhat lightheaded, so I checked my pulse.
The pulse oximeter marked 96/39
Now, I’m no athlete, and I’m not a exactly sure my heart is supposed to be pumping so slowly. So of course, I typed “low heart rate” and google autocomplete to show “COVID19"
The first result was a study titled “Bradycardia a calm before the storm”
My heart truly sank... Like it only has once or twice in my lifetime.
Immediately, I realized that searching for information online would serve no purpose other than to scare me... But if being scared raised my heart rate would it be beneficial?
According to the online material, some patients develop bradycardia as a response to the fever... apparently slowing the heart rate keeps the body cooler. But of course, I didn’t have a fever... and the magic number... Oxygenation above 90% was still there.
Suffice to say, I lost all of my will to sleep, and I’ve monitored my rate since and it has gone up to 60-70, But I’m convinced it’s quite low considering last week I was getting 75 when sitting down.
I suited up, and headed for the kitchen... Usually out of bounds for me, but at 4AM in the morning is not like anyone would complain. I made myself a simple breakfast and some coffee. I think that helped.
Anyway. I guess it was a very frightening moment. I’ve noticed in the past that, when I’m anxious, I can notice my heartbeat’s noise.. and it is an appalling noise... it doesn’t let me sleep. But when you start hearing your heart go slower and slower, sort of resonating between your ear and the pillow... It’s so alarming. The gap, 1.5 seconds, is wide enough to be frighteningly unencouraging.
Anyway. Though I’m convinced I’m going to be OK ( everything else I could test came back normal) and it was just a scare... it scared me enough that today I’m preparing a dead man’s switch.