New Member

Hey everyone.

52 years old and fit, and had an emergency pacemaker put in March 29th with less than 12 hours notice. Didn't have much time to research anythying.  I had been in the Philippines in december, came back through LA, ended up in hospital there with syncopse and vomiting and they think some kind of viral infection.  Was in for five days.  They released me and I drove back to Vancouver, BC about a week later, but kept having near fainting spells after I got back. I had instances like this at times when working out, but thought maybe I needed surgar, so would keep fruit or juice afround, but I guess that wasn't the problem. 

I ended up in ermegency three times in two weeks, then they finally put a holter monitor on me, stress test, then a two week monitor. The day after I turned t in, the doctor called me and said I needed a pacemaker put in the next morning. I had already had a couple of episodes that morning, and while on the phone with him, I almost fainted, fell into a couch and had a hard time standing, so he told me to got to the ER and I stayed overnight until the PM was in. Apparently my heart was stopping several times a day for up to four seconds at a time. 

They put in a SJM Assurity MRI. They didn't really explain well what would happen other than asking if I played golf, if I was right handed, etc. I'm very fit and am both an actor and a filmmaker, and sometimes carry up to 100pound packs of gear into the mountains on my back, so I was a bit concerned after surgery to see the puck under my skin right where a strap would go.  Three months later it rides up and over my collar bones when reach around, over my shoulder, drying my hair, sleeping on my side, etc. 

July 2nd, another doctor is cutting me open to move it under the pec. I'm happy and nervous at the same time. And then there is the recovery.  I just started being able to to pushups again not long ago.

The PM was origainlly set to min 60bpm, but I was constantly getting that feeling your throat and it felt too fast. When they did the two week check, it was working almost 100% of the time. They said I was fit for my age and lowered it to 50bpm. I am having less issues with that feeling, but now I am also having the ocassional feeling of faintness after exercise.  And as few time, my heart started beating very hard and would not seem to stop, even when lying down after moderate exercise and trying to relax to slow it down. 

I also get that faintness, tingling and weakness after even 30 pushups sometimes, like I have seen others describe.  Takes about 30 minutes for the weakness and weirdness to go away.

Anyway, that's my story so far.  Still get a bit freaked out by the odd jolt, pin prick feeling shooting pains, and some dull aches in the chest area, but I'm alive.  Just need to be brave enough to excercise a little harder.

I received a Merlin@ home device.  Didn't even know it was coming or what it was until it arrived.  It does not have wirless.  Only landline (EX1150) and I don't have one.  There was a manual for a cell adapter, but nothing in the box and I searched here and there has been no talk of this thing since like 2015 the latest. Some people spoke of a wifi possibility, but it's unlcear.  Is this thing an ancient paperweight?  Any videos also seem like they are like 10 years old. 

Thanks for sharing information everyone. I'll see you around here as I dig around looking for ansers and maybe when I have a few questions.

Thanks.


5 Comments

Merlin

by Tracey_E - 2020-06-28 10:21:50

Mine came with cellular, all I had to do was plug it in. 

If you are still getting problems when you work out, it's likely the settings need adjusted again. It's common to take a few tries to get it right. It's possible you'll feel better at 60, just throwing that out there. Just because you got by with a low rate doesn't mean you wouldn't feel better with a faster one. It can take time to adjust. 

Merlin

by bobjohnson - 2020-06-28 12:24:24

Hi Tracy.  Do you mind if I aks what model Merlin you have?  Mine is the EX1150 and there is a USB port but nothing plugged into it. There is a Cellular Adapter Model EX1151 Series Troubleshooting Guide in the paperwork, but there was no adpater in the box, so I'm guessing it's just standard packaging for the "optional" adapter included with the EX1150w, since the manual is "Ex1150/1150W." At first I thought that maybe they added the capability inside the box, but I doubt it and can't figure out if that is the case.  Thanks.

EX1150

by Tracey_E - 2020-06-29 09:24:20

I have the same box. There is a cable with a white thing that looks like an overgrown thumbdrive in the usb port. So it sounds like mine came with the cellular adapter?

Cellular

by CyborgMike - 2020-06-29 22:46:43

Bob, I have the same box. Mine came with a cellular adapter. You should call your EPs office and ask to get the cellular adapter and the phone number to the monitoring center. Once you hook up the cellular adapter, call the monitoring center and have them walk you through a manual upload (a few button presses) to confirm it is working. 

Once it is working it does magic at night. I have had a few oddities and I'll get a call from my EP or the monitoring center asking me to come in for a check-up. 99.9% of the time you don't need to know it is there or that it is uploading information at night. I've also been able to use Merlin to troubleshoot or observe my PM behavior. I had a high level of V pacing at one check-up and I suspected it was due to running hills. So I worked with the monitoring company to upload a manual snapshot (clear it out), go for my hill run, then immediately upload again. They could see that during my run >130bpm I was V pacing 100% of the time. In theory, I might have figured that out on a treadmill test, but it was much easier to use Merline and the monitoring staff to see it. Ultimately, it helped my EP learn that I also have rate induced AV block > 130 bpm.

Merlin, watch, surgery and adjustments today.

by bobjohnson - 2020-06-30 01:12:46

Thanks guys.  Cyborg Mike.  I have no idea what V pacing is, or your block.  I went in to get my PM adjusted today.  I also asked what I even have wrong.  I learned it is indeed sick sinus like other people here have talked about.  Yes, that's how mew I am to this shit. :) They turned on the dynamic something or other where it helps out if I exercise and turned the recovery mode from medium to fast, since I was having trouble getting my heart rate down even after moderate exercise. 

I have surgery on Thursday morning to get it moved under the pec, so hopefully that goes well.

I called Merlin this morning and they are giving the cellular adapters away free during Covid, and it comes with service at no charge. Sounds great.  It comes from california, and I'm in Vancouver, Canada, but I am driving back to LA on July 20th, so I am having it shipped there. I asked about watches on another thread, and although I hate the look of the apple watches, it seems lik ethey are the best way to go for regular use, so I'll likley get one of those and something else for diving and such. ​

It's cool how we can use this technology (and the merlin) to keep track of what our hearts and our hardware is doing. Thanks.

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