I know they’re completely normal and that everyone has them once-in-a-while, but they still freak me out and annoy the hell out of me. Heart palpitations are when you feel “that your heart has unexpectedly started to race or pound, or feels like it has skipped a beat” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Surprise-of-palpitations.shtml). These happen naturally in everyone, but some people get them more frequently than others. They can be signs of stress or anxiety. “Some palpitations appear out of the blue and disappear just as suddenly. Others are linked with certain activities, events, or feelings. Exercise and physical activity can generate palpitations, as can anxiety or stress. Some people notice palpitations when they are drifting off to sleep; others, when they stand up after bending over” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Surprise-of-palpitations.shtml). These things feel like when your heart skips a beat, or flutters lightly in your chest. I don’t get them that often, but I do get them….apparently just like everyone else.
In 1989, The Cover Girls came out with a dancy love song called My Heart Skips a Beat. The song was about how a woman was in love with a man and every time she sees him her heart got so flustered that it palpitated. Little did I know it wasn’t a metaphor (as most things are in music and poetry – see my post entitled “Hidden Meanings”) Hearts can really skip beats. Today, I went out touring Singapore with my friends. Several times, I had a palpitation, and it annoys me because it does feel like something is wrong with me when it happens. When I was living in Suzhou, I went to doctors and had tests done because I had palpitations (which are normal). I wore a heart monitor for a day because I thought the palpitations were from something bad. Turns out I was fine (at least my heart was)….they found other things wrong with me instead.
I think the most frightening thing about palpitations is you can never be sure if it’s just a plain old common skipped beat, or if it’s the big one (“I’m coming Elizabeth!”). Whenever I get them, I wait for the left arm to go numb and the ears to start ringing….all the symptoms I’ve memorized about a heart attack (I know…I’m paranoid). It’s the not-knowing that annoys me the most about palpitations, if they were definitely benign and a normal thing, I wouldn’t care about them. Although sometimes they do strike at a moment when I’m doing something active…..and I think I’m about to pass out! Haha!