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The Barry Manilow Interview (Page 2 of 3)
You have mentioned the word “rhythm”; it
leads to my next question of what is the
“Get Back in Rhythm” campaign?
To make people aware of this condition,
this atrial fibrillation. As you go on
GetBackinRhythm.com, they have put
together what I am trying to say, only
much more articulately, and they have a
little test –“Do you have this? Does it
feel like this?” If you check off enough
boxes, then you know you probably have
atrial fibrillation and you need to get
yourself to a doctor.
That is good to know. Frankly,
as family caregivers, we take ourselves
out of this circle of care. We ignore
our own issues; and then I always tell
caregivers if you do that, who is going
to step in and care for you and your
loved one? This sounds dangerous.
You are right. It is dangerous. I have
spoken to many doctors and they say, “So
many people do not like to go to their
doctors.” One doctor said, “You are like
me; I do not like to go to doctors.” And
he was a doctor! It is very
common. But with this one, you really
have to take it seriously because it can
go to some really nasty places.
Gary Barg: Pretty
Once the medication stops working, as it
does with me, I cannot stop my heart
from going crazy. Then they have to stop
it because you are playing with fire if
they don’t. They give you what is called
cardio aversion. They give you the
paddles—I call them paddles—what we have
seen on TV all the time where they say,
“Clear!” and then bang!—those paddles.
They put you out so you do not really
feel very much. It is terrifying, but
when you wake up, your heart is back in
rhythm. That is when the medication does
not work; that is the next step. They
have to do something as dramatic as that
because they have got to stop it
somehow. They have cardio averted
me—they have given me the paddles—I
cannot even remember how many times over
Now you know what to do about AFib and,
obviously, cardio aversion; how else
does it affect your life?
It is a pain in the neck.
It comes on in the middle of an
interview like you and I are having. It
comes on in the middle of my life. It
never really has come on when I have
been in the wings waiting to go on
stage. I do not know why; it has just
left me alone on that.
But there was one time when I was in
Boston. I was in a thing with the Boston
Philharmonic on July 4th. It was a live
TV show being broadcast to millions of
people. I woke up in the morning
and I felt this thing start. I went, “Oh
no, not now, please.” I took the
medicine the way I was supposed to and
it just would not stop. I called my
doctor and said, “Okay, what do I do? I
have a sound check at 2 o’clock.” This
was around 9 o’clock in the morning. He
said, “Get over to the hospital in
Boston; there is an area that is devoted
to AFib.” I got myself a doctor there
and they knew who I was; they got me in.
Sure enough; they had to stop it with
After it was done, I
woke up and the thing had stopped. I
went to sound check and kind of
staggered onto the stage. Nobody knew
and that night I did the show. You can
get through your life, but you have got
to take care of yourself; that is it.
You have got to be on top of it.