Newbie

Well, as you can see I'm new to the group. Today I'm in recovery day 4, and compared to some postings I've read from this forum I would consider myself not unlike most in symtoms with rough nights and sleeping in easy chair, slight redness at incision site, soreness in and around the new PM.

My history with heart attacks started around 15-20 years ago (I'm 76), when after and attack I had a stint inserted and was prescribed Simvastatin, Metoprolol and 81mg asprin along with the usual lifestyle changes.

Then on July 6th after several weeks with unusual bouts of shortness of breath I had a severe case and had to stop after just walking 30'  to catch my breath. After receiving a negative report on all tests the dosage of 50mg twice a day of Metoprolol was discontinued increasing my heart rate from mid 50's to mid 70's. At this point I thought that was the end of this episode until my heart doc fitted me with a heart monitor and discovered a tendency for my heart to drop much lower at times of rest. That's when I learned I'm headed to surgery for a PM.

For the past couple weeks after being informed that a PM is necessary I've been looking for answers when I came across the "Pacemaker Club". After signing up I've been reading posts of after surgery experieces and so far I think I'm in the average column. In the future my focus will be more about what I can and can't do because of the PM. Being an engineer for 40 years I've had experiences with EMP in military communications equipment, now I'm finding there is a whole new environment of EMF that I need to learn about and what it means to PM function.

So if anyone has experiences or comments about the do's and dont's I'd like to hear about them, specifically welding, chainsaws, weed whackers, you know farm work, etc.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences and feelings, it's comforting to know it isn't the end of life just a different way to approach it.

Chopper


7 Comments

EMF

by AgentX86 - 2022-07-30 11:04:01

There is very little you have to worry about. Some welding is problematic (see your PM manufacturer's web site).  There is no problem with hand-held garden tools.  My EP has restricted me from some garden equipment (primarily lawn tractors) but talk with your EP about these marginal tools. The issue is the alternator, so the same problem exists when working under the hood of a car. 

The only other thing that I can think of that you might run into around the house is an induction stovetop.  As long as the pot is covering or completely off the "burner", there can be a problem with leakge of the magnetic field.  Other than that, there is noting used around the home that could be a problem (a ham will probably have to be really careful around a high-power transmitter).

Look at the manufacturer's web site and talk with your doctor.  Don't worry about anything else that you're likely to come across. Since your issue is Bradycardia, the list gets shorter.  If you start feeling badly, just move.  If the problem goes away, don't do that.

Hi there!

by Lavender - 2022-07-30 11:39:07

Come in and sit a spell. So good that you're already reading and educating yourself on your new body part. 
 

I do my own yardwork because I'm afraid someone will cut a bush or flower off. Had that happen. I asked my pacemaker tech and he said to wait til I healed so as not to pull on the new incision area. After that, he said to hold my leaf blower and weed eater in the other hand. He said for me a riding lawn mower is perfectly fine. I've also used an electric chain saw, which of course is fine. 
 

It's new to you but I can see that you're already working on solving this puzzle!

Newbie

by Chopper - 2022-07-30 13:03:21

Hey thanks for your thoughts, hmm lawn mower wasn't on the list of things to check out, now I need to add it. A few days before surgery I ordered a EMF meter, the engineer in me has a new thing to quantify and evaluate.
After making the post I remembered a nurse came in just after my surgery and in recovery and hooked me up to her monitor and placed a magnet over the new implant, didn't fully comprehend what was happening at the time but as you said no problem. Looks like life will be just fine.

Have a great day

Chopper

Pacemaker interrogation

by Lavender - 2022-07-30 14:19:40

You said, "remembered a nurse came in just after my surgery and in recovery and hooked me up to her monitor and placed a magnet over the new implant, didn't fully comprehend what was happening at the time but as you said no problem."

That nurse was most likely a pacemaker tech who was doing an interrogation on your pacemaker to check the settings. 
 

They place a wand over your device that is linked to a special computer called a programmer. At my last interrogation, they no longer placed the wand over the device and instead just waved a mouse sort of object around it and connected it to the programmer. 
 

This is how they check the battery life, adjust settings and check the history of the use of your device.  

Lavender

by Persephone - 2022-07-30 16:17:25

Yes, at my first follow up appt, which was in the clinic with obviously over-pressed staff, and my experience with implant could have been summed up with "did anybody see the bus that just hit me", the tech put the magnet on my implant area and left the room for several minutes. I didn't know what to do, just had a peripheral awareness that magnets & EMF = problematic. It was more than a bit scary. Knowledge is power. The good people here provide so much support for us all.

Good comment, Persephone

by Lavender - 2022-07-30 16:54:58

I've said countless times that more information needs to be given pre and post device implant.  
I never knew what an interrogation was-I was lying in the hospital bed, a man came in with a briefcase and took out a laptop. He did identify himself. He walked over and placed the wand on my device and it draped behind my neck. 
 

Like the Wizard of Oz, he began turning dials behind the laptop open cover.  💻Lol I was in a daze as I realized that, like a robot, I was being manipulated by another machine.  🤖

I'm used to the interrogations now. Without this site, I would have had a very difficult time emotionally accepting my CRT-P.  For those here, it's our new *normal*.  
 

Honestly I am one of those who does read the manuals that come with things, I read every page of the book so I knew our new software in and out at my office.   The info provided on this life saving device upon which I am dependent-was not enough. Winging it with a computer inside of me is against my nature and I had lots of questions. 🤪 But I am learning!

All the medical personnel in the hospital were kind and friendly to me but, obviously in a hurry and with much work little time. One of the EP team, not the EP himself, took two minutes to draw a quick heart on the white board in my room. He made a big X over the AV node and a big X over the left bundle branch. He said that was what was broken.  I took a picture of it. It was fast and simple but was the beginning of my comprehension into what happened. 

Lawn mower

by AgentX86 - 2022-07-30 21:17:17

Each of us has different needs so you should listen to your EP and read the manufacturer's site. As an engineer (I are one too) you'll have a large leg-up on others cruising the Internet for information. Much can just be discarded as nonsense - doesn't pass the sniff test.

My EP is afraid of rotating magnetic fields interrupting my pacemaker.  I'm dependent on my pacemaker and have no backup plan (no ectopic beat) if something happens to it. If it's interrupted, I could be in a world of hurt. Alternators are the problem because of the rotating field, magneto type ignitions aren't, at least at arm's length. Since the operator sits right on the alternator, the risk is there.  I'm not supposed to be working under the hood of a running car, either.  The alternator is miles away from the driver, so no problem driving.  This where the EP comes in.  We have different needs.

The "magnet" probably wasn't a magnet, rather a NFC (near-field-communication antenna).  This is used to not only interrogate your PM but also to change its settings. Your pacemaker is most likely also Bluetooth compatiblel.  It can often be seen on the bluetooth device list on your phone. 

As you can imagine, security is a rather big deal so the pacemaker can only be programmed over the NFC connection but can be interrogated via Bluetooth.  There is smart phone app to communicate with the pacemaker to report status back to the mothership.  There is more information about this in the club's recent archives. 

You know you're wired when...

Microwave ovens make you spark.

Member Quotes

Good luck with your surgery. It will improve life amazingly.