17 October 2015

atrial fibrillation

My secret belief - the innermost credo by which I live - is that although life is loathsomely ugly and people are often terribly vile and cruel and base, nevertheless there is something at the back of it all, which if only I were great enough to understand would make everything, everything indescribably beautiful.

Last Monday I woke in the early hours with a feeling of urgency and dread like never before. I got up and as I walked to the window to find the moon I passed out. It was all very gentle, my legs slowly bending and folding onto the soft carpet. Almost elegant. For a brief moment only. I pulled myself up and that is when my heart started to race and skip and stop and start. These jolly occasional jumps have been scrutinised extensively in recent years. Extra systolic beats are nothing to get worked up about, they told me. Only, this was slightly massively more than an extra beat here and there. The regular and boring thud thud thud of my heart had turned into a wild jig and while I was lying there trying to decipher this new rhythm, which wasn't a rhythm at all, I felt quite curious, calm even. 
Anyway, to cut a tedious story short, I eventually had the unexpected  pleasure of the second ambulance ride of my life. I got the full treatment, sirens and all, and I was actually laughing, it was so exhilarating with trees and houses rushing by. Nothing like the first one three weeks ago when I was puking all the way. Hell no, this was great fun.
It was all very picture book really, like on tv, the monitors with the colourful curves and bleeps, the tubes and ports and needles and wonderful calm skilled people coming and going with reassuringly orchestrated regularity administering potions and performing rituals and - oh yes! - that weird gown. I really regret that I left it behind.
Sometime during the following night, my heart had enough of it and jumped back into its boring regular groove. And as it did so, all the monitors started to bleep and shout and flash and the night nurses came running and cheering and clapping and I called home and then took this picture of the heavens above me.


  1. We have wild hearts, don't we? There is something. That is what my dear friend Evelyn said, too, when she was 85 years old after saying, "I'm pretty much of an atheist." I've heard it said that laughter is a pure form of prayer. I've seen those heavens, too, and am in awe of your photo. What love has given us, no one can take away.

    By the way, Katherine Mansfield looks like my mother and her mother.

    Thinking of you often, Sabine. Sending love.

  2. I believe that. What Katherine Mansfield said.
    As amazing as this experience sounds, I wish you didn't have to experience it.

  3. The beautiful poetry of your health woes always knocks me out. Your photo of the heavens above you is truly a lovely view, your eyes open and taking it all in. Thank you. Sending you best wishes for your continued healing and good health.

  4. this is really beautiful evocative writing. so strong. experience and observation, hand in hand. may your heart beat steadily now. sounds like enough jollity for a lifetime.

  5. Back into rhythm. Whew. And I echo the comments above. Beautiful writing.

  6. I'm glad you filled us in on what's been going on -- from the previous posts I couldn't quite tell! And of course I'm glad your heart decided to go back to its "boring regular groove." Thank goodness for boring!

    I love that you were able to appreciate the excitement of the ambulance ride, even in those circumstances.