Author Beware: Delusional Diagnosis (1/2)

There’s nothing I hate more as a reader than to be happily reading along a novel that I really like and come across a medical issue that begins to pull me out of my snow globe of a story bubble. It’s even worse when it begins to keep me up at night and I dream up a whole blog series about this issue.

That means things are really bad.

This happened recently. The story is actually quite good. Solid, interesting premise. Had it not been for this medical issue that was a thread through the entire story, I’d easily give it a five star rating. But, because of this medical issue and how it was painted, I downgraded my review just for that reason.

It made me wonder if the author had talked to someone in the medical field. And if they did, who it was. I mean, the 125 year-old retired dermatologist may not be the best resource. For dermatology– yes, absolutely. Otherwise, just sayin…

And I love dermatologists by the way. But if I’m dying– please find me a cardiologist!

The issue surrounded palpitations. The author began to write about how the lead character was having palpitations and how she was concerned this represented a major heart issue that would ultimately lead to her not being able to pursue her ultimate career goal. The author painted it as a major event in her life.

I’m going to ease off a little here as patients are often this way. They worry that a minor symptom represents a major life-ending disease. Happily, this if often not the case. So, it’s okay to do that… in the beginning. I’ll cover the major down side of this book next post.

Let’s cover what we know. What are palpitations?

Palpitations are merely the sensation of your being aware of your heart beating. Normally, you can’t feel that muscular pump busily working in your chest. Is doesn’t keep you up at night with its never-ceasing beating nature.

Palpitations are often skipped beats. When your heart skips a beat, sometimes blood doesn’t flow out as it naturally would and this fullness can be felt. Normally, these skipped beats aren’t anything too concerning if they happen every so often. More worrisome is if it is happening all the time and/or associated with chest pain and/or shortness of breath.

Palpitations can also represent rapid heart beats or irregular heart beats. These can be a little more worrisome.

However, some people with palpitations do not have heart disease or an arrhythmia. This character happened to be a young, healthy college student which makes these diagnosis more unlikely.

Come back for Part Two of Delusional Diagnosis next time.

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