Tuesday, February 14, 2023

On Tenterhooks with Atrial Fibrillation!

 Despite the pledge I made to myself to refrain from personal health related complaints, here I go with more foolishness about my recent hospitalization. The nurse-turned-patient phenomenon can be fertile ground for peculiar insights into the illness experience.

I've had episodes of atrial fibrillation now for about 13 years. They are usually no big deal, but combined with a Klebsiella sepsis, the last one was tough to shake off and required more intensive intervention. I was minding my own foolishness in the ER holding area, awaiting an inpatient bed to avail itself when all of a sudden it felt like there was a kettle drum pounding away in my chest. I was going to say that it felt like an elephant sitting on me, but my wife is right, I tend to exaggerate. The medical resident was close by so I told her that my chest was feeling "funny." I really don't like to disclose that I was a nurse to providers so I understate and use foolish vernacular to illustrate my plight. My nursing experiences are too dated to be relevant today.

She took a quick listen with a fancy electronic doodad festooned stethoscope and shrieked to a nearby nurse to put me on a monitor. The nurse hastily applied the electrodes, gazed at the monitor with that avian eyeball intensity and flipped out, shrieking to get the crash cart. I was doing just fine up to this point, but in all the ensuing drama, I felt panicked-not a good thing when you are in atrial fib.

The arrythmia was promptly converted to normal sinus, but I felt guilty for all the excitement my predicament caused.  I was perusing some of the tips for novice nurses on atrial fib that Kati Kleber RN MSN had on her nurse education site, FRESHRN. One of her suggestions really hit home, "Put on your nurse face when caring for a patient in atrial fibrillation." From a patient's perspective, I offer up a hearty AMEN to that one!

For all you bright whippersnapperns out there take a gander at FRESHRN. I really admire Kati's fine work and it's a wonderful resource..


  1. Hi there OFRN - it's been a while since I've been here and I am heartened to see you are still happily blogging! Take care of that heart now, won't you!

    I've been Googling my old hospital graduate nurses site - many are celebrating 60 years since they started training - gosh we are getting old, OF! Youth is fleeting - if only we'd realized when we were young - but at that age, you think you have all the time in the world.

    Take it easy, mate. Cheers from Sue in Australia

  2. Thanks, so much, Sue, for the kind words. I've been diddling around on Instagram and am having trouble motivating myself to blog since all my health issues came to a head last winter. During my hospitalizations, I was deeply touched by the kindness and expertise of all the outstanding Whippersnapperns! I would have never survived without their care and expertise when I was septic! Sometimes I felt guilty about consuming so much in healthcare resources when I'm definitely in my twilight years (and that's likely a gross understatement!)

  3. I am replying late OF, as we have been moving house and retired to the scenic mid north coast of New South Wales. I hope you are keeping well over there - or as well as you can - and I am glad to hear the whippersnappers took good care of you!

    This is a big retirement area here, and I must say the temperate climate with outdoor cafes under palm trees by the sea is pretty nice!

    I follow a blogger in Colorado from time to time who is a friend of a friend here, and that helps keep me up to date with happenings in the USA.

    Always good to come by and see what you are up to these days! Stay well my friend, regards to your family. Sue