Coronavirus, AFIB, and Cardio-version…What I learned!

This should have been a “routine” ER visit!

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

This was not the first time I went to the ER for my AFIB. I expected it to go as smooth as……., yes my ER visits usually go smooth. Doesn’t yours?

Ok let’s say my previous 2 ER visits went so smooth it almost felt like a drive-thru take away. You drive-in, you order and you drive off satisfied.

But…. Here in South Africa our drive-thru takeaways have been closed for the past 7 weeks. That should have given me a clue. I ignored the clue. I went for the drive-thru option at the ER. That was what I was hoping for!

Actually I was ready to braai that afternoon and wanted to just get this AFIB thing out of the way. For the non-South Africans a braai is like a barbeque but just way better(my opinion, and maybe 59 million other people).


My previous two AFIB experiences was dealt with swiftly.

In January 2019 and 2020 I went into the ER, was diagnosed, cardioverted, recovered, and released within about two hours. But this time it was two days and 2 nights.



I strolled into the emergency room of the Mediclinic hospital on Saturday morning at about 11:00. I knew what was wrong I knew what the remedy was. I just needed someone to DO IT!

No, don’t think that was the way I acted. I just calmly explained to the nurse that I experienced heart palpitations and that I believed it was AFIB. I should have known that something was different when she locked the door behind me and also asked my daughter to wait outside in the car.


I was already thinking about the wood, the braai and the meat. Ahh a wonderful Saturday afternoon was ahead of me. Life was wonderful.

After the standard procedure of getting hooked up to a IV line, temperature and blood pressure taken I waited for the ER doctor on duty. Very quickly she was at my bedside and confirmed what I already knew. I was in AFIB. She called the cardiologist on duty.

Then she dropped something. “We will admit you into the hospital shortly” No that was not what I wanted or expected. I politely asked if I could first see the cardiologist. She politely said yes, she would call him. I politely waited (with angst).


I live in a smallish town. I know my cardiologist and hoped that I would see his face and explain my case of a midafternoon braai that was on the cards.

It wasn’t my cardiologist. But I in any case explained my situation and my wish. Easy in easy out.

He explained his situation. Easy in difficult out. While he was talking I just thought “no,no,no,no,no…….”

I wonder if it was while he was talking that I started praying inside. Because I have been through this before. I don’t like it. I don’t want the process.


The cardiologist explained to me that he had no choice but to first wait for my coronavirus test outcome before he could do anything. I had no coronavirus symptoms. He understood it but explained the it was the protocol and he had no other option.

And you know what? By that time I was not tested yet. So I waited for the test. In all honesty I must say that the service at the ER was excellent. The corona test was also done promptly. They only did the nose probe. But still, I just wanted to be chocked and be out of there, but no, the corona.

How long would I wait for the corona results? It could be 4 hours a day or 48 hours. So in the meantime I was admitted. Straight to ICU(Intensive care unit) because of my heart. Don’t worry I was still hoping for the braai later that afternoon. Why not be positive?

But was I frustrated? Wrapped up in the protocol and a small, very small victim in the whole corona “thing”.


This was my main reason for fighting the “admission”. I did not like being strapped up.

I understand the protocol, the precaution the monitoring.

I just don’t like the IV line, the saturation monitor, the blood pressure armband and not to mention the electrodes of the EKG machine all over my chest. It’s like a spider web all over your upper body. All the monitors, the constant beeping, lights on during the night, and the odd alarm of a monitor going off.

The worst thing to do? Try and turn your upper body. I dare you!

To explain it in other words. It’s the IV needle in you, saturation meter on the fingertip, BP armband, and about 10 stickers and electrodes on your chest. I understand all of this. But see the thing is I’m not sick. I just need a good finely tuned electric shock wave going through my heart. That’s all. Ooh and also a blood thinner to keep my blood real smooth, thin, and not clogging.

Forgot to mention the morning wakeup. At 04:00 a friendly lady wakes you up to know if she can stick a needle inside your arm. For blood test naturally.

Oo how I miss those mornings.


So nicely “strapped up” tied up in my bed I started the wait.

First disappointment: You’re going to sleep here tonight.

So the best I could do is not eat after 22:00. In preparation for the much-anticipated cardioversion the next morning.

So the 2nd best thing to do was not to eat breakfast, as per the above reason.

No results….. until 12:19, but one minute after I ate my lunch I received my negative status. I had a slim chance of getting a cardioversion on Sunday if I did not eat. But on the other hand the cardiologist and theatre nurses already went home, and it was Mother’s day.

I had to wait until the next day!


So on Monday morning at about 11:40 I was cardioverted after a TEE as done to see that there were no blood clots in my heart.

The cardioversion was successful.

With all this moaning and growing of a weekend lost I must confess.

I am unspeakably happy, blessed, delighted, relieved that I’m not COVID-19 positive but also that my heart is back in rhythm!

Praise God

This article was first published on Medium at

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