Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.
Home from the Urgent Care, just a few minutes ago. Not crowded, Ed and I got in right away. Our pockets full of anti-bacterial wipes fearing that the major flu epidemic is spreading germs our way, we were in and out in less than an hour not touching anything.
About a week ago during the night I was on my 2nd trip to the bathroom. I’d heard Ed come back just minutes before. Fumbling around in the dark aware that Ed had turned off the dimmed light usually kept on at night, I headed in the right direction but at the wrong speed. Some of my meds can cause dizziness and I’m aware of that, not always at 4 AM. The commode came up quickly and before I could stop, my head hit the cabinet above with a bang. I yelled “ouch!”.
Unable to get back to sleep, I kept one eye on the Merlin@home pacemaker transmitter about 4 feet from my bed. Using the house Wi-Fi, it transmits my heart rate to a data center. A green light is constantly on as long as I am not in atrial fib. The bump on my forehead hurt and, as always, a new problem scares me. The green light stayed on.
I ignored the bump. It ached. Two days ago the skin at the outside corners of both eyes turned purple and red. It started to circle my eyes. Is it a blood clot? I was worried. The bump was smaller and turning yellow.
What if it’s a blood clot and I’m not taking a blood thinner because I choose not to. Am I wrong? Dr. Hummel would prefer I be safe and take it. I had 35 years of atrial fib and took warfarin for 12 of them.
The urgent care doctor explained that the bump appeared to be healing and the blood that it contained was draining causing the purplish bruises which would go away in a few days to a week. And no, it wasn’t a blood clot on its way to the brain as I imagined.
I told the doctor that I don’t take a blood thinner when he asked, but that I do take a full strength aspirin. “That’s why you have the bruising.” He said, “It’s good, that in this case you don’t take a blood thinner.” I was vindicated from my guilt that I was not taking a blood thinner.
The aging process might be easier without such an active bladder. But then, puberty and menopause weren’t so easy either.
Read more details IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib, a memoir.