My defibrillator went off. I have a Guidant pacemaker-defibrillator (ICD. Implantable Cardiovascular Defibrillator).
I'm a clown and was performing in a Fourth of July parade. At first, I thought I had been hit in the back by a hard kicked soccer ball or something similar.
I didn't see anything behind me and turned and continued in the parade. Then a second hit, and a couple of seconds later, a third hit. I asked people around me what had hit me. They thought I was clowning around.
I called to my friend, another clown, and asked her what hit me, then said I thought I was having a heart attack and asked her to get a police officer.
I was still standing. I saw an officer across the street and walked to him. I had another jolt as I was approaching him. As they sat me in a chair I had the fifth jolt.
Paramedics were called immediately and took me to the hospital. You can imagine the reaction as I was rolled in on a gurney in my full clown outfit, makeup, and big red shoes...and smiling.
The staff were great. They did blood work, a urine test, EKG, x-ray and called the device tech. (Guidant products are now owned by Boston Scientific.) The tech did an inquiry of my device and saw the confirmation of the five jolts.
The analysis was my pulse had reached 161. It is set to go off at any number over 160. It caused the atrial (top part of my heart) to beat very fast. It continued to take readings and jolted me a second time to reduce the atrial pace. It did that 3 more times until my heart was stable.
BP had gone up to over 160. It is never that high.
Now, the important stuff.
I had run out of Coreg (it helps the heart to beat regularly) and hadn't taken it for a day or two.
I had pushed myself very hard for 3 or 4 days and was tired so I went to the local branch of you know what and had a super strong caffeinated beverage. It helped. I felt good. I felt no exhaustion. I overdid it and had worked up a sweat. I was late for the parade and had rushed to get there and was cavorting for the crowds.
Then ... boom!
It wasn't fireworks!
I learned a lesson. I need to pace myself. Duh! It's hard to do and I hate it.
I need to cut back on caffeine. It increases heart rate.
I need to listen to my body when I am tired and SLOW DOWN.
I found out what the jolt feels like. It hurt and surprised me the first time. I was confused and didn't understand what was going on but I remained on my feet and was able to think clearly and get help. While the jolt was strong it lasted such a short time it was tolerable.
The device did exactly what it was supposed to do. I'm alive, the world is brighter and more beautiful.
I'm drinking less coffee!