About a month ago I wrote how I was undergoing another round of heart monitoring for my PVCs and PACs. Well I got the results back a couple weeks ago but I haven’t had time to update my blog until now.
As I predicted, my 2-week monitoring period didn’t show anything concerning other than “occasional” PVCs and PACs. Everything looked great and I have nothing to worry about.
I have to be honest, I was pretty upset; not at the results but at how the whole monitoring period went down. The days leading up to my monitoring period I was having intense PVCs and PACs, which is why I broke down and had the monitoring done in the first place.
But wouldn’t you know it, the day I put the monitor on, my heart was as quiet as a church mouse. I had a feeling that my heart was going to “suddenly” behave over the two-week period and I was just going to be wasting my time and money.
After the monitoring period was over and I shipped the monitor back to be analyzed, I knew they weren’t going to find anything because it was the quietest two weeks I had had in a long time as far as my PVCs and PACs were concerned.
About a week after I sent the monitor back my PVCs and PACs kicked in as usual. Go figure. It’s like my heart loves toying with me. Sometimes I seriously contemplate having one of those implantable heart monitors put in me. Maybe if I knew I was being monitored 24/7, 365 days a year I wouldn’t have any more PVCs and PACs!
Now I patiently wait for the bill to arrive. It always amazes me how long it takes to get my medical bills for these things. After I had my ablation I was getting bills for it still a year after the fact! The bill for this monitoring period will probably cost well over $1,000 (I have a high deductible health insurance plan) and I probably won’t see it until December or sometime early next year.
I got the bill for this monitoring about a week ago. As suspected, the cost was indeed well over $1,000. The total bill was exactly $2,300! That’s just stupid. Fortunately, my insurance covered all but $50 of it so my actual out-of-pocket cost was low but still, it shouldn’t cost $2,300 to have your heart monitored for 14 days.
I regret having the monitoring done only because I knew it was going to be a total waste of my money. It’s just that my PVCs and PACs were getting so intense back in July that I was “scared” into doing it. Moving forward I’m going to be far more cautious about requesting these. I’m going to wait until I have at least a straight month of hardcore PVCs and PACs before I even think about being monitored again.
Why Can’t I Monitor My Heart Myself?
It really grates me that these heart monitors are so expensive. It shouldn’t cost $1,000+ dollars to have your heart monitored for two weeks, nor should I have to go to my doctor to get “approval.” I should be able to go directly to these companies anytime I want and request a monitoring device for as long as I want – and of course pay accordingly.
Why can’t these companies offer their devices and monitoring services directly to the consumer? It drives me crazy. If I want to monitor my heart rate for a two-week period every month, that should be my prerogative. I shouldn’t have to call my doctor for approval and then go through all the red-tape.
You would think by now someone would invent a device that could reliably and accurately monitor your heart rate continuously for a number of days or weeks. The AliveCor monitor, which I’m a big fan of, is as good as it gets right now but it’s not even close to what would be ideal. It’s not terribly accurate at times and it requires you to manually check your heart rate. And if you don’t hold perfectly still when you use it you’ll get inaccurate readings. You could never use it exercising or even walking.
The monitoring device I just had is so simple. It’s a lightweight, 2-lead monitor that couldn’t be more than $100 if it was sold at retail. Throw in another $400 for the monitoring service over a two-week period and you have something that shouldn’t cost more than $500. Why isn’t this available to the general public? Or why can’t the folks at AliveCor create a similar product and monitoring service that would be available to the general public?
It just drives me crazy. Our healthcare system is so unnecessarily complex, but I digress.
My PVCs and PACs Today
Since I returned the monitor about a month ago I’ve gone back to my usual pattern where I have a string of really bad “heart days” (i.e. noticeable and intense PVCs and PACs) followed by a string of decent to normal “heart days.”
We just took a week-long family vacation and I was sure it was going to be a nightmare as I would probably be staying up late, eating lots of junk food, and drinking a lot more alcohol than I normally would. Despite all of that, wouldn’t you know it I had a really good week!
I only had one really bad “heart day” but the other 6 days of the vacation were almost perfectly normal. I still had occasional PVCs and PACs but they weren’t bad at all. And one day in particular, I had my first 100% normal day since the blanking period days after my ablation over a year ago. On this day of the vacation (it was a Thursday) I went a full 24 hours where I didn’t feel any palpitations. It was so awesome. I just kept thinking (aside from thanking God for blessing me with such a wonderful day), “So this is how normal people live. How fortunate they are!”
I have to admit but there are times I’m so envious of my wife and kids. They have no idea how fortunate they are. I would love to be “normal” where I didn’t have to think or worry about my heart because my heart wasn’t working properly. Instead, I spend every day wondering when my PVCs and PACs are going to kick in and how bad they’re going to be. Then when they do kick in I have to wonder (and worry) if they’re going to get worse or if they’re going to trigger afib.
I know it may sound like I’m discouraged but I’m really not. I’m just being honest about my thoughts and feelings. When my PVCs and PACs get really intense, I just focus on God and keep telling myself all of the wonderful things He’s done for me up to this point. He’s always come through for me, so this too shall pass and He will get me through it!
Case in point: last night was a really rough night. I was having such intense PVCs and PACs I was short of breath and I felt I was in full-fledged atrial fibrillation (I wasn’t). Instead of getting scared or depressed, I just focused on God and prayed and carried on like everything was normal. I knew He would help me. Sure enough, after three intense hours they subsided. I was even able to get a good night of sleep because my heart was mostly “settled” when I went to bed. God is great!
Despite my continuous battle with PVCs and PACs, I’m quite optimistic about the future. I have complete confidence and faith in God that someday I will be cured of these PVCs and PACs just as I have been cured of my afib. My time will come. I just have to be patient, stand strong, and keep the faith! My battles with my heart – be it afib, PVCs, PACs, or whatever else I’m hit with – may last a while but in the end I will be victorious. Someday I will live a normal life just like my family does!