Brand New Pacemaker
Three weeks ago I started having episodes of bradycardia. I went to the ER for an infection in my eyelid that wasn't healing with oral antibiotics. They gave me IV antibiotics but they were more concerned that my heart rate wouldn't climb out of the 40s. They admitted me. I returned to the 70's and after 2 days they discharged me and told me to stop taking the blood pressure medication I had been taking for six years. Three days later my heart rate dropped to 32 and I spent the day in the ER. The following Monday I was able to see the PA at the office of the cardiologist who I had seen in the hospital when I was admitted the previous week. She put me on a Holter Monitor that sent real time heart data to their office. The next day I awoke and my heart was running between 165 and 185, I was in A-Fib with RVR and the Dr's office called me and told me to call an ambulance. I was just discharged from the hospital this evening, after having had a pacemaker inserted on Thursday and a re-surgery on Friday when it was discovered by X-ray that the leads were too short. I was doing swimmingly Friday morning, doing fine on Tylenol and not experiencing undue discomfort. However, they went back in on Friday early afternoon, and I was REALLY hurting when I awoke after that second surgery at the same site. In addition, my entire shoulder and my left-hand scapula were seriously hurting. They put me on 2 mg of Dilaudid and that helped considerably with the pain. Originally, they were going to discharge me on Friday, then they thought they would send me home on Saturday. I was still in too much pain to go home, and on Sunday (yesterday) I asked to stay one more day. They agreed. Last night while in the hospital and on oral heart medication, I had a 52 minute episode of A-Fib with my heart rate between 145 and 155. My nurse tried to tell me that I was causing the episode because I was anxious. I didn't feel anxious, but given that she had told me earlier that my PM wouldn't allow my heart to go above 130 (and she had been a cardiac nurse for 25 years and she KNEW what she was talking about, I did get anxious and confused. I had been sure that the cardiologist told me that since I had brady/tachycardia syndrome, the pacemaker would ensure that my heart rate would not go below 60, so however aggressively we had to treat the A-Fib, I would run no risk of my heart stopping. She confused me, and furthermore, for those 52 minutes I thought my PM couldn't be working right. I was scared that they would have to go in a third time. The only way they got rid of the A-Fib was with an IV dose of the heart medicine, which they had given me orally about an hour before the A-Fib experience. I woke up this morning afraid to go home. The rep from Boston Scientific came to see me, and she confirmed what I had thought was true; protection against bradycardia, but the tachycardia and A-Fib had to be treated with medication. I saw a Nurse Practitioner from my cardiologist's office who said I could go home, but I wanted to talk to my doctor. He was very nice about it, but he said I had nothing to be afraid of; that tweaking the A-Fib medication was part of the process, and no one is where they're going to end up eventually med-wise when they leave the hospital. He assured me there is absolutely no possibility of a life-threatening event (although they didn't start the blood thinning meds until today); and I pulled up my big girl panties (I'm 71, so I've been a big girl for a while) and was embarressed and agreed to come home. I googled recovery from PM surgery and was so very gratified to read that I'm not the only one who became fearful about having this implanted and what it means for my future. I don't feel like such a crybaby now, and I am thrilled I've found this site. I quit smoking after 53 years five years ago with the considerable help of an online support group, and I'm hopeful that my adjustment to this new circumstance will be aided by this group! Thanks for being here.