Damn Palps

I was awake around 1:30 Sunday morning. I know for some of you that is not an unreasonable hour but for me it is an hour that should include deep restorative sleep not time to think or ponder life. I really was sleepy but thirst had the better of me and I finally threw the covers off and lumbered out to the kitchen. We have one of those refrigerators that automatically dispenses ice and water but at 1:30 in the morning in a dark and slumbering household that machine sounds like you have started up your Kitchenaid meat grinder. Instead, I quietly poured a glass of filtered water from a pitcher I had thoughtfully filled before I went to bed, then poured another and stumbled back to bed.

Back in bed, I wanted to sleep, so I did a mantra of I AM drowsy, sleep, sleep, sleep. Nope I can’t sleep. I cannot sleep. I am too awake but soooo drowsy at the same time. Next to my awake self but on the other side of our bed lies the spousal unit who thankfully doesn’t do much sawing of logs but this night he snores. It is gentle snoring but when you can’t sleep any sound of snuffling nostrils is akin to a freight train coming through your king size bed, stopping right when it is over you and blasting its loud and obnoxious warning horn.

I was now so awake. I tried touching his leg, tried turning and groaning, turning and not groaning, turning and turning and now the turning had a certain thrashing quality to it and suddenly in the midst of all this I started to worry and then my worry took a different bent. Was that a missed heartbeat I just felt?

Will my heart now start to beat erratically? If I turn on my left side will I hear the hard beat of my perplexing heartbeat and then soon after that the audible blip of a missed beat, the dreaded palpitation. Now my thrashing has turned to caution. I carefully turned to my right side, whoops was that a missed beat or could it have been a bit of gas? I then propped my ear up off the pillow, so as not to hear the irregularity if it occurs. Unfortunately, I am uncomfortable on my right side, so I turned to my back avoiding my left side altogether even though that is where my body wanted to be.

You see if I lay on my left side I can hear every heartbeat, every single pounding beat (Dr. Lowe explains why this sound is so prominent in a hypothyroid person). Meanwhile the train has stopped on top of me again and I reach out to touch the spousal unit’s leg. I hate saying the SU’s name out loud in the middle of the night as that always causes him to wake with such a start that I fear for his healthy heart. Again there is that fear of a possible malfunctioning heart, not mine but his. I would never feel or hear his heartbeat, irregular or not, in the middle of the night but I  could be left a widow all because I called out his name for being a loud sleeper. Mon Dieu! Anybody else’s heartbeat I can worry about?

Sometimes I wonder if all people listen for their heartbeat or is it only the thyroid people among us who develop this unnatural fear of something so vital to life. Most people will not believe you when you tell them that irregular heartbeats are some how related to a malfunctioning thyroid because most people, including doctors, simply don’t understand the importance of that tiny butterfly shaped organ at the base of your neck. My SU lives 24/7 with an informed and outspoken hypothyroid victim and he still scoffs when I mention the mere idea that my thyroid or his could somehow affect one’s heart.

Thankfully Saturday night I eventually fell in to a deep slumber, so deep that I was told the next morning that unusually I snorted twice so loudly that the SU touched me and I stopped. (Hmmm, I wonder why my touch did so little when his train horn was sounding?). The good news for me was my heartbeat was right as rain that night, not one missed beat, in fact whatever I felt was likely nothing more than a gas bubble most likely thanks to the Parmesan cheese with balsamic vinegar with which we finished our Saturday night’s meal.

The whole scene in the middle of Saturday night did make me start thinking when I awoke on Sunday morning about all the thyroid people who might have been awake with me. Were we all sharing a moment of concern for the organ that moves a certain life giving  rufescent substance throughout our bodies unaware of our sleepless state? Instead of worrying about the possibility of a missed or irregular beat perhaps we should just be in awe and  bow to the powers that be. After all without the beating heart we are naught. With it we  may experience the odd palpitation or irregularity but let’s face if good fortune shines upon us we live to see yet another sunrise.

Here’s to good fortune,



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Olivia on 9:47 at Monday, January 31, 2011

    Hi Kris,

    I want to say thank you for your blog today. I’m one of those persons who lie awake at night dreading the “heart beat”, dreading the skipping and pounding feeling that comes and goes as sleep evades me. My heart is always my first thought upon awaking and my last thought as I fall asleep, I hate that this controls me so much, even when I’m in NSR ( normal sinus rhythm ) I worry about the palpitations coming back. My poor husband and kids, they never know when I will feel good or feel bad.

    Your blog brought tears to my eyes, it is amazing how special you have become to me. We both will find our keys to unlock the doors to are heart issues, together we can’t fail!



    • Oh thank you so much Olivia. I was thinking of our conversations when I wrote it. I truly hope someday we can both just sleep and wake and not give our heartbeat another thought.


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