It all began one year ago on a day trip from Fisher Island to Palm Beach. I decided to take a mid-way break at one of my favorite joints on the sand near Ft. Lauderdale. Arruba's cheeseburgers are delicious and their quesadillas are as good as any and better than most. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling terrific. My good health was obviously on my mind as I opted to have neither of the house specialties, but instead opted for the far leaner fish stew.
The next day I was hit by a nasty stomach virus (read food poisoning). I felt awful, but was confident of my diagnosis and clear about the course of action to be taken; I would stay at home and rest, and do so in immediate proximity to my bathroom's toilet. There was to be no course of anti-biotic for me nor any other drug or preparation that might "plug me up." The "secret," I believed was to get rid of what was ailing me and to do so as naturally and quickly as possible. This may be a good prescription for the 25 year old I used to be, but now (at 70 plus) it was a disaster. I got sicker. I became dehydrated which led me to the doctor's office and the discovery that my dehydration could have caused severe heart damage and did bring about Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heart beat). A pill and some rest in my Miami doctor's office and I was back in regular sinus rhythm within an hour. I believed it to be a onetime event. It wasn't.
As the year wore on I would fall out of rhythm and again into Atrial Fibrillation. Most of the time I couldn't tell, but consuming chocolate, too much coffee or... well, who knows? There was no real pattern to when it would occur or when it would not. It is somewhat dangerous... more than doubles one's chances of a stroke. This last week I had what is called an ablation, performed by the terrific team at my my Alma mater, the teaching hospital at the University of Southern California. It is about a four hour procedure that electrically stimulates the heart via a conductor introduced to the heart by way of the femoral artery. In guys my age it works about 70% of the time and it appears I am in that group... "appears" in that there is no certainty of the permanency of the change from A-Fib to Sinus.
They are monitoring me now in Los Angeles which is why I am not on the beach at Fisher. And I have another couple of weeks of monitoring before that homeward trip. I feel good. I get a little tired mid-day, but I was always a napper so "no problema."
There is, as with most such tales, a moral and here it is:
I should have had the Cheeseburger!