Pacemaker adjustment

Hi everyone, I am glad to find this forum.  I had a pacemaker put in for a secondary block - low heart rate do to bottom chamber not communicating with top.  I was tired but really only felt a little pressure which caused me to go get checked and glad I did or else I wouldn't be writing this.  I am having a difficult time with adjusting as I get parenoid about flutters or any wierd feeling.  I am checking my heart rate more times then I want to admit.  How do overcome this - any suggestions as I worry about my meds, or a glass of wine that it isn't good for my heart? Is this normal I have had this in since July 8th 2020.  Thanks again


5 Comments

It's a choice

by crustyg - 2020-09-09 17:29:18

I empathise.  Externally I'm an active, athletic PM user fully cured from my SSS+CI condition with my implanted gadget.

But every so often (usually in the small hours when I wake) I find myself checking my pulse, very occasionally popping my little finger pulseox on and watching it settle to a reading (waking from a bad dream does crazy things to my heart).  I watch the numbers come down, feel my pulse to make sure all of the beats are the same intensity, and realise I'm still in normal rhythm.  Then I put the toy away and go back to sleep.

It's really just a conscious choice: you *choose* to spend time checking your pulse, counting etc., or you choose to busy yourself with other, more productive things - family, gardening, cooking, caring for & about others, making something outside your chest the focus of your attention.

And then you realise that you haven't thought about your PM or heart for a whole day, then two days, then a week.  Where you are in the emotional journey is very common and normal.

And I don't think a glass of wine is bad for your heart.  All of the bottle on the same day may not be wise, but a single glass, or two - it's fine.

How do I overcome this?

by AgentX86 - 2020-09-09 17:43:37

Well, in many cases,  you don't.  After what we've been through, is it surprising to anyone that we get a little jumpy when the heart does something a little strange? Most aren't even aware that they have a heart (arguably, some don't) and when it does something crazy, it's ignored or perhaps not even felt. It's estimated that there are tens of millions of people who have AF that haven't a clue that they're sitting on a bomb.

No, we've had the timer stopped at 00:00:02 (just like on the teevee) so every time we hear a tick it gets our immediate attention.

You'll never get over it completely, which is a good thing. We do have to be vigilant. A lot can still go wrong. We don't have to let it control our lives. If I feel something, it gets my attention, then if nothing else happens it's back to what I was doing before. It's unavoidable. Getting immediately back to the real world is the key.

Don't check your heart rate. It's easy to say but not so easy to do. Don't try cold turkey. It's not important enough. Just don't get obsessed over it. You had the heart block and now you have some hardware in you that fixes it. Now you can live a normal life. That's a great thing!

Meds? I don't have any problem with meds, I get up, pop thirteen pills, play around (work) all day, pop five more, squirt another drug in my eyes,, and sleep. What's not to like?

If you're worried about your meds, talk to your pharmacist. Their job is to look for interactions and educate you on possible reactions.

Alcohol consumption is something to take up with your doctors. Usually one drink is OK. I've found that zero is easier than two.

You've only had your PM for a couple of months. Cut yourself some slack.

Thinking about the PM

by Persephone - 2020-09-09 19:46:58

Hi newlife2020 -  As others have spoken about on this site, I find that what I eat and how much hydration I get can very strongly contribute to how I feel.  Eating fatty or salty foods (or worse, both fatty and salty) can cause a pounding heart for me, so avoiding them as much as possible is the route I try to take. Getting enough potassium in my diet seems to help as well.  Dehydration can also contribute to symptoms, so an appropriate amount of water consumption should be part of the picture.  Best wishes to you as you become more accustomed to your new device.    

perfectly normal

by dwelch - 2020-09-10 23:12:33

This is perfectly normal.  I had level three complete heart block and it took a good part of the first year to stop checking my pulse all the time to see if I was still alive.  By the time I got my first one I could feel every beat, the pacer fixed that and it was empty inside.  So I had to learn to get used to that.

As you learned with the recovery and some things like washing your hair took a different amount of time than say sleeping on one side or driving, lifting things, etc.   The mental takes time too and it is different for everyone even if they have the same condition and device.  You will always know you have it but you will eventually trust and accept it and not think about it any more than you think about your belly button.

You will have more of an awareness if your body/heart when it does things you feel.  But at the same time you will be more educated than the average person.  Esp with sites like this, I was on my third device before finding a site like this, my first device was 33 years ago, there wasnt a public internet nor forums like this, so I was all alone on this other than talking to my doc.  

Some folks dont have these issues others have them bad the rest somewhere in the middle.  One persons solution doesnt work for another person, so while one may say exercise, one may say work harder one may say research your condition more, or find a distraction, etc...You have to find what works for you.  But mostly it is about time.  

While there are a lot of posts here about issues, understand like reviews on amazon, most folks without any problems dont post, so for every issue on this site there are countless folks with devices with no problems, not complaining online...

You will learn to trust it.  You will forget about it, just like any other body part.  You will learn to protect it from being bumped or touched.  You will get used to your new heart rythm.  You will learn to sleep again with the new lower rate.  You will learn that pretty much no electronic device interferes with your pacemaker.  These and many more things will happen.

Taking Pulse etc.

by bobrichards55 - 2020-09-13 15:01:11

Hi,

You seem to be reacting very normally.  I used to take my pulse a lot, be very conscious of my heart and every little blip.  After almost 3 years with my device I check a lot less.  I rarely if ever take my pulse.  I figure if I feel ok just wait for the next clinic visit and I will find out if there is really anything wrong going on.  And there probably isn't.

I know that trying to get to sleep is the worst time for me; hearing my pulse against the pillow.  I am not sure if you ever completely get over it, but the anxiousness seems to diminish with time.

Good luck!

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