Last week? Oh, a little heart surgery. How ’bout you?

October 31, 2016


Thomas Hospital
Thomas Hospital


I planned to go hear fellow columnist Frances Coleman speak at the Fairhope Museum of History last Tuesday, but by 2pm, I had started to feel . . . what was it? Not really sick. Not really nauseous. But seriously terrible. Sick in a way I’d never felt before. A morning full of frustrating election talk on TV and the internet, plus stressful emails had me completely agitated, and my heart had started racing (later clocked at 172 beats per minute). Sharp pain worse than any indigestion I’d ever had was the other strange symptom, as well as being freezing cold.


I was going to ride it out (just your average mom), but when my husband came home at the end of the day, he insisted I call the doctor, who said to get to the ER, so off we went.




When I signed in, my lip was quivering and I was teary eyed. “I’m sorry, I just can’t believe I have to go to the ER,” I told the “kids” who were acting like real nurses and security guards. Everyone was so young, and I suddenly felt so old. I was led to the admitting nurse, who, once I dried my eyes, realized was the dear mother of  my sweet friend Anna! Instant comfort and calming came from just seeing her there.


Later that night, I was admitted to the hospital and vindicated with the distinction of being the youngest patient on the cardiac floor. Whoop-freakin’-eee. I’m the youngest of the invalids!




Thomas Hospital is a wonderful facility and we are blessed to have such a great medical resource in our small community.

However . . . I had the bed from hell with a LOUD motorized air pump that inflated different spots on and off all-the-night-and-day-long. In the morning, I was so sleep deprived and rattled from remaining in AFib all night, I told the nurse if I had a gun, I’d shoot the bed, which in Alabama isn’t considered a terrorist threat, only a plan of action. Ultimately, my straight-talkin’ husband had a “meeting” with the staff, and a new bed was brought in. Later, we discovered the first bed wasn’t just irritating, it was also malfunctioning, so it was DOUBLY irritating. The bed is designed to promote circulation, which they said I didn’t need, but if you turned the motor off, the entire mattress deflated! Really now, how is anyone supposed to sleep with that motor popping on and off every 35-48 seconds? (I counted).

Thomas Hospital, Leslie Anne Tarabella-blog
Okay, here’s the one pitiful picture my husband took. Awwww! My orange MacBook is next to me, but I felt so bad I didn’t work much. They brought me the bag of chips to see if I would eat them, but they were BAKED (but I still had a few. Not so bad). And that’s ginger ale, not beer. And yes, this is the bed of horrors. I wish the painting over the bed showed up better in this photo. It’s a scene of children on Mobile Bay by local artist Jo Patton. So sweet! I kept trying to turn around to look at it.


All the wires and tubes pumped me with medications that made me woozy, and they wouldn’t let me have coffee (headache)! And for some reason, all my awesome friends felt like they needed to come see me. What? I feel like c#@p and look like a haint, and you want to come stare at me? Really, I just want to sleep! “Oh, but I NEED to come SEE you!” they cried. I adore my friends, but when the nurses saw there was going to be a crowd of rowdy middle aged young ‘uns possibly disturbing the older folks on the floor, and after I was a bit . . . um, sick, they finally put up the “no visitors” sign and that was the end of that fun. But it’s the thought that counts, so thanks friends!


I absolutely loved my nurses who were outstanding, and the room was beautiful and spotless clean, which goes a long way in my book. I’ve never stayed in a hospital over two days, and in those instances, was given a cute baby to take home. This time, no prizes. (Thank you, God).


Thomas Hospital view
The room had a large window with beautiful sunrises thrown in.

On Thursday afternoon, I had a heart ablation for Atrial Flutter, and I’ll take medication for Atrial Fibrillation. If you are interested, click HERE to read the differences between the two.


Thomas Hospital - Leslie Anne Tarabella-blog
The dietitian brought me this beautiful cupcake as a peace offering for not allowing me to have coffee, but I didn’t feel like eating it, so I knew something was wrong!



I was able to return home about four hours after the procedure and have taken it easy since then, and even went to church on Sunday, although I needed to go home and take a nap — which is nothing new —hahaha! Just kidding!  (Just a test to see if my pastor’s reading!).


I can already tell I feel better, and if you had seen me last Monday, and again this Monday, you wouldn’t know anything exciting had happened. Modern medicine is amazing, and since strokes and aneurysms run on the Scottish side of my family, I’m forever grateful I was able to receive this surgery so quickly and early in life.


I truly know God was orchestrating this event to cause this to happen now instead of waiting. If I had tried to schedule this, I would have had to wait months, since there’s only one Cardiac Electrophysiologist in our entire county (Dr. Robichaux — and he’s wonderful). My friends and family have been so kind and helpful and I appreciate them all more than they will ever know. I’ll just have to go hear Frances speak another time.

hqdefaultAnd now, you know what I’m going to say . . . isn’t life an amazing adventure?



  • My goodness, Leslie Anne, “a little heart surgery” is not something one wants to have to answer when someone asks “how are you.” And you sound wonderful now, yes it is unbelievable what modern cardiology does now.

    Thank God you listened to your husband and called your doctor! And thank you for writing about your symptoms while this was happening as it may save someone else from having a stroke.

    Now I’m going back to your current post that directed me here. Please take care of yourself!


    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you for the well wishes. I’m feeling better now, exactly a week after the procedure than I have in years! Still a little extra sleepy in the afternoons, but that’s the only thing I need to work on!

  • Pandora Heathcoe says:

    I am just so glad you are well and it wasn’t worse then expected. Glad hubby made you go to the ER!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      He comes in handy like that! Thanks Pandora.

  • Happy to hear you were well taken care of at Thomas Hospital. When I filled out emergency papers for work, I put down that I want to be brought there if anything happens to me on the job. What a scary thing to happen. I hope you are doing well and feeling stronger now.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I hope you never have to be taken there, but if you do, Thomas Hospital is the best. I’m feeling better than ever now. Thanks Lorraine.

  • I’m so glad you are feeling better but – WOW!! What a story! You also provide a cautionary tale for all of us (moms especially) who might ignore symptoms we should not. Hoping you are back to 100% very soon!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you Mo. I thought they would only give me something to slow my heart down and never dreamed they would keep me in the hospital, so yes, you never know what is going on and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  • Glad you are back to normal! I just made an appointment yesterday with a cardiologist… at night I have been feeling little flutters and want to check it out. My husband has ablation surgery years ago and is doing great.

    Take care, Lori

    • Leslie Anne says:

      So glad to hear about your husband and I’m gad you’re getting checked out. People think, “it’s just a little flutter now and then” when it could be leading up to a stroke. Take care of yourself!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I totally remember you having heart issues, but had forgotten the exact cause! We’re heart buddies now! Hope you’re doing well!

  • Man how scary!! And yes, you are waaaay too young to be having heart problems. I am so glad your husband insisted you go to the ER. (I hope he wasn’t gloating with an “I told you so.” Ha!) The bed from hell (when it functions properly) is for people who are bedridden for long periods of time to improve their circulation as you said. My father in law had one for about a year. So sorry you had to go thru all of that. Take it easy (which is not an easy thing for any female to do these days!) Glad you are on the mend!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      On the mend, and on my way to feeling great! Thank you Kelly!

  • Leslie hope you can rest now that you are home. Take care and the fact that someone gave a heart patient a cupcake tells me you will be okay. I would totally miss you so take it easy girl. Turn off the TV until 11/09….nobody needs that kind of stress.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I found a channel in the hospital that showed non-stop Andy Griffith, so that took the place of the usual news channels. As for the cupcake, I suspect it was a low-fat-no -sugar-colored-with-berries concoction. Those cardiac nutritionists are sneaky!

  • Sandy Hill says:

    Please try to rest and take care of yourself Leslie as we need your very interesting and humorous columns and reports to continue.
    And your family would like to keep you around for many, many more years!
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Don’t worry Sandy, I’m going nowhere! You are stuck with me for a very long time! Thanks so much.

  • Oh, how scary! But, I’m really glad you went in and got everything handled and are back on the up and up! 😉 Sending you happy thoughts and prayers of thanks that you were in good hands and healing. {HUGS}

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you so much Hope. I’m glad to have it all taken care of as well. Now, on to the next challenge, whatever that may be!

  • Hey ! Life … a delicate balance… these sufferings … make us more compassionate … empathic… here’s where we get a spiritual growth spurt !!! …. blessings in disguise !
    … egads … we are fortunate indeed … love you …Gigi

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Gigi. You are so right! Love to you as well.

  • Frances Coleman says:

    Well, I WONDERED where you were!! (joke) I am glad things turned out well.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I know it was hard for you to carry on without me! Thanks so much, and we’ll catch up another time.

  • Oh my gosh, girl.
    What a reminder that our bodies are human and vulnerable.
    So glad you are doing well!
    Love your humor,

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Isn’t that the truth! Even those who are physically strong can have something go wrong and suddenly everything changes. Strokes aren’t something to mess around with, so I hope everyone pays attention to what is going on with their bodies.

  • Oh, my dear lady – you are amazing! This column is one for the Print Out and Keep file!! We are thrilled you are doing so well. Now, will you be joining us at Cardiac Rehab? It is a wonderful place with such great staff. Yes, the staff is made up of “kids”, but the clients are all ages, including at least two Geezers (my husband and me). See you three days a week???

    • Leslie Anne says:

      You know I’m always up for a party!

  • I’m glad your on the mend. And those beds from hell- I told my nurse I’d rather sleep on the floor. And I’d just had spinal surgery.
    Take care of you:)

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I can’t believe they put you on one of those after spinal surgery! OUCH! It was like a noisy Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!

  • Leslie Ann, that is some scary stuff that you endured! So glad you are feeling better and take time to rest! Blessings~

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you Pam, but even though it was scary, I was never afraid. Concerned, yes, but not afraid. That peace that passes all understanding kicks in when you’ve practiced seeking it for many years!

  • Omg Leslie Anne, I can’t believe this!!! What a nightmare, and that bed! Very scary experience all the way around, I’m so thankful you’re ok! That little ole Southern belle heart of yours just gave out from giving the world so much kindness!! Please take care and REST and listen to your Drs!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh Jenna! I wish that were the case, but I think politics got the best of me and put me in a snit! I’ve had enough resting and was just dancing around the kitchen this morning. Onward!

  • So good to know you are going to be AOK! I know that was scary but how wonderful there is a procedure to correct the problem. I have a Mitral Valve/ Electrical problem that causes rapid heart rate, pretty scary. I had the option when I was diagnosed for the new procedure, a laser to zap electrical nodes in the heart. Since it was new way back then I said no thanks and went on meds which works wonders. Aging also helps 🙁 :), take your pick. Not to say I won’t have it done if it starts bothering me again. I’ve heard a lot of people with this common problem have this done. Glad you are ok………Clicked on your link but it doesn’t work. U take care.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you so much Emily. I’m glad you are keeping an eye on your issues. Just stay healthy in all areas, because I’m finding out it’s all linked together! — Link should be working now. Sorry!

  • Glad you’re feeling better, and just like I predicted, you made it sound humorous. I especially loved the part about you not having a “gift” to take home this time. I’ve been noticing too how all of these children are doing adult jobs everywhere I look. I think when we weren’t looking, a law was passed to allow three-year-olds to work!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Seriously, when I checked in to the ER, I thought it was “career shadowing day” or “take your teen to work day.” When did this happen? Just glad to know there’s going to be someone around to take care of us!
      Thanks so much Judy.

  • Whoah! Glad you are ok!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Kenneth. You and me both!

  • We are so happy you are recovering well! Talk about putting us in a scare and panic mode my sweet friend… we will see you very soon. God bless you and your precious family.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you Sandra.

  • I am so glad you are doing well now and on the mend. Going home only four hours after the procedure is a good indicator! The link about the conditions didn’t work, but I did look them up and found a lot of info from Merck and British Health Journal. It was probably a blessing in disguise that you didn’t have to wait to get this procedure. Your youth (and beauty of course!) is on your side, and you were so lucky to have such a good doctor. You have done a great public service bringing awareness to women especially, in that you do not have to be old and out of shape to have heart issues. All the best to you, now and always.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thank you Ellen. I’ll check on the link.

      As for being in shape, during the preceding months, I had been tested with stress tests and angiograms which found no blockages or other bad things. I had to stay on the treadmill forever because I was in such good shape that it took a long time to get my heart rate up. The problem was electrical, which I don’t think has anything to do with habits, just hereditary I guess. I’m still learning about it all, but like you said, being healthy has totally speeded up the recovery.

      Now, back to the booze, cigarettes, caffeine and wild parties! (just kidding, Mom).

  • Oh Leslie Anne! How terrifying! I am so happy that you found out what it was and you are on the mend. You look like a soap opera actress in your hospital bed. Hope you have a full recovery soon. And remember… red wine is good for the heart.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Good point!

      And all my doctors were soap-opera dreamy! (Or at least under anesthesia they looked that way!)

  • Mitzi Childs says:

    Rick hated that bed as well. Had to bring him coffe as he was up and around by 6:30 (shift change) and could not find any. Glad to hear you are on the mend.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I think the beds are a great invention for people who need them, but the noise alone would startle me when it started up every time, which isn’t so good to be freaking out a heart patient all night long! Glad Rick is better, and we’ll have to compare notes! Thanks Mitzi.

  • I am so glad you are ok. I was worried, so I know all of your friends wanted to see you!!!
    God is amazing and I am so glad He intervened to slow you down. You are a great writer. I hope you are not letting those crazy people who comment on newspapers get you down. I suspect many of them have not nearly enough to do than make stupid comments. God has given you a gift and remember not everyone loved Jesus. Can you imagine? I didn’t come up with that on my own. My husband told me that often when I let a crazed parent get to me in my teaching days.
    Now, for Tuesday night…must have been something strange in the air. I ended up in the ER with kidney stones. Not something I ever want to feel again, but I think I will take them over your heart scare.

    Take care of yourself.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Kidney stones! Now, that would put the big fear in me! I hope you are okay! And you are right about letting people get under your skin. My story for the newspaper will look at that exact issue later this week. Stay tuned!

      Hope you are feeling better soon.

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