Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Heart Was Aflutter

Sally of Retired English Teacher had a very nice post about meeting a former student.  It's a good reminder to be nice to people.

Now, the sad part is that she ran into the former student in a hospital emergency room after suffering from a bout of rapid heart rate that lasted too long.  I hope she is recovered nicely from that and continues to recover from a bad knock to her noggin in January.

Her post did remind me, though. that I have had some experience with tachycardia.  My incident happened while I was in class with a small group of high school students.  I recall that I was standing at the chalk board and that I dropped a piece of chalk on the floor.  I bent over to retrieve it, and when I stood back up again I could feel my heart start to race.

 I took a deep breath and tried to work my way through this, but it didn't work.  One of the students jumped up asking, "What's wrong?  What's wrong with you?"  (I remember this girl fondly for so many reasons.)

"Nothing."  I tried to wave her away as I headed for my desk chair.  She didn't believe me.   Apparently I was white and the vein in my neck was visibly pounding away.  She ran to the classroom next door and got the English teacher.  My colleague took one look at me and buzzed the office for the nurse, then escorted me with the concerned student on my other side, to the teachers' room.  They stretched me out on the couch and the nurse came in to take my blood pressure, after which she called the rescue ambulance and then my husband.  I remember the principal coming in to hover and wring his hands and then the EMTs loading me onto a stretcher and and wheeling me to the elevator since we were on the third floor of the building.  What a commotion.

They tried to put in an IV to "save time" at the ER, but I started crying, so they gave up that little plan and started driving.  Out of the school parking lot we go, siren blaring.  The hospital was less than five miles away.  My heart was racing right up to the moment we turned into the hospital parking lot.  It just went "clunk" and started a normal beat. How embarrassing.

There's another student who was also there at the time.  I remember him often, if not so fondly.  Good old 'Calvin' waved good-bye to me as I was wheeled into the elevator.  He then turned to one of his buddies, possibly Hobbes, and, with fist pumping the air, remarked, "Yes!  Substitute tomorrow!"


  1. With all Bob's heart problems this is one thing we've never had to deal with and I'd like to leave it that way.

  2. I am sorry but I had to laugh about that student with the fist pump. I hope he went on in life and became a more empathetic person! I also think you should not be embarrassed that your heart went back to normal on its own!

  3. That must have been so uncomfortable! ...not to mention scary. What a relief to have your heart resume its normal behavior, huh?
    The things that we take for granted!

  4. This post really made me smile. I can just see that student now. Aren't we fortunate as teachers to have students who are observant, act on their instincts, and are caring?

    Did your heart have any more problems after this incident?

  5. I'm sorry this happened to you, but I'm glad it worked out. This fist bump story is so funny.

  6. How terrifying. Glad it was self correcting.

  7. I bet you showed Calvin by being right back at school the next day. That made up for your embarrassing recovery when you arrived at the emergency room.

  8. Testing, testing ... I left a comment on your post yesterday but it apparently didn't go through? (Can you check your spam list?) And P.S. -- The most imporant part was, I hope all is okay.

  9. I feel rather heartless when you make me laugh at a serious situation. Now stop that--- but that fist pump was comical.
    Sure hope that racing heart was a one time event.

  10. Great ending to a sobering story. I hope this was your one and only bout with a racing heart!


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