• Tony Dymock

Near Death Experiences

Ok, I'll admit, making a joke about Tyson killing me probably wasn't smart. And I draw into question my stupidity telling people when I got my motorcycle license that it's statistically likely I'll be dead by 30.


Well turns out in my rush to enjoy Tyson's first experience with roses (he totally deserved them) I forgot to take the little pills of sleepy madness for my heart. I was warned not to do that, but who listens to experts? Pfft. Whatever Doc.


To no-ones surprise, the consequences of skipping Flecainide while in repeating bouts of Atrial Fibrillation are pretty severe. As in, another trip to hospital severe. As in, a glimpse to the other side of the coin of life we all enjoy on a daily basis severe.


Yes folk, you read that right. I have had my first true "near-death experience". And not the warm fluffy kind full of endorphins and dopamine that most people talk about.


When the heart plays up or stops beating, you can use external shock to literally shock it back into rhythm. Most people would be familiar with the defibrillator in some form. The garden variety experience is the paddles that doctors dramatically yell CLEAR at and then zap people in the chest. SIDE NOTE: Most defibs don't look like that. They're little sticker pads that go on the chest, and the machine figures out when/how much to zap. As per usual, I digress ...


So that's all fine and dandy on a dead or dying person. But what about a conscious 30-year-old who's scared shitless? You can't really just zap him and be done with it. No sir, we have a special fucked up solution for him. This little solution of darkness is known as adenosine.


Here's the ELI5 version. Adenosine naturally occurs in the body. But given at high enough concentrations, it stops a certain electrical impulse in the heart for a few seconds and allows a natural rhythm to return. If you're smart you just read between the lines and realised that adenosine stops your heart. As in, you dead, sport.


So what do those few seconds feel like? A severe, horrible, increasing, impending sense of doom. Imagine being a kid with your velcro wallet and chain tucked into your pocket (no? just me then ...), and then all of a sudden you realise it's gone. Your money, your cards, your keys. Shit. Dad's going to be so angry ... That feeling of your heart falling through your feet. Times that dread by 100, and you'll know what adenosine feels like.


At least I got to watch myself die on the ECG. Seeing the irregular heartbeat replaced with a long flat line just reminds me of how awesome the heart is at surviving. Ergo, I am awesome at surviving. Not dead yet fuckers. Keep your hands off my belongings.

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