post surgery restrictions

I am scheduled for a pacemaker Sept. 12th, due to low heart rate (although today it was 52bpm up from 40bpm, resting).  My biggest concern, apart from, of course, the surgery itself, is how I am going to cope afterwards.  I am a single woman of 78, caring for 7 rescued senior special needs horses and 2 dogs and running a retail clothing store.  I have found someone to run the store for me for a few weeks and another person to feed/medicate the horses four days a week, still looking for someone to do the other three days.  And, having secondary lymphedema in one leg requiring banadaging at least every two days and this alone can be pretty physicall challenging, even with the use of two arms.  I do not have any really close friends or family here, and I just don't know how I will cope with all the many physical restrictions for the weeks after surgery, not to mention being unable to drive for at least 7 to 10 days.   I am almost at the point of cancelling the surgery because of these concerns.    

SO....  If there is anyone else out there that had a similar situation I would love to hear from them, and find out how they managed.  I was going to get a second opinion but any decent cardiologist in this area cannot see me for months.  

Thank you.


9 Comments

Hi Zoey!

by Lavender - 2022-09-02 12:31:43

My first thought is that you are more concerned about others than yourself. Selfless folks can tend to neglect their own needs in service to others. You won't be of help to anyone unless you stop and let this happen and allow time to heal. It won't be a long recovery and you will drive again soon. You just need some back up help for a bit of time. 

 

You will be able to use both arms. The pacemaker side can't be raised above the shoulder at first-but again that's not for long. There are only a couple physical restrictions: not lifting anything heavier than a carton of milk for a bit, not raising your arm, and not driving. All restrictions end quickly. 
 

You know what they say-you have to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others. Those animals can't help you if you keel over. Get the surgery and then go on with your busy, active life. You have miles to go before you sleep and can go better with a new battery pack. 
 

 

Me Too!

by dogtired - 2022-09-02 15:28:20

I'm scheduled for Sept 14 and am also concered about the recovery.  I asked my EP for more details and I was surprised by the response and now feel IF all goes according to his schedule the recovery will be much easier than I feared.  After 24 hrs I can:drive, bike indoors, and even travel.  The only lasting restictions involve not lifting your affected arm above your head and nothing more than 10 lbs.  For me adhearing to these should be easy ,  I should be able to shower after 48 hrs,  dress, cook, clean without issue.  My arm restrictions are for 30 days.  Your restrictions may differ and you should follow them , but I now feel this isn't going to be too bad, as far as procedures go.  

Low heart rate

by Rch - 2022-09-02 16:01:25

Hi, sorry to hear about your dilemma? Has your Cardiologist explained to you whether your HR of 40 is due to sick sinus ( chronotropic incompetence) or some sort of a heart block? How's you resting blood pressures? Do you have any symptoms relating to your slow HR? You didn't mention anywhere in the text about any symptoms. If you have no symptoms and the Cardiologist has not explained to you the reason for the PM, I would encourage you to get a second opinion. As to your lymphedema dressing changes, you can get a home health nurse to come out to your place. Wound care is considered skilled nursing and I would think Medicare should cover that.

 

Rch response

by zoey - 2022-09-02 18:46:10

I was told my low heart rate was due to sick sinus.  I originally went to my fam. physician because of fatique and feeling light headed once or twice.  After doing an electrocardiogram, echo ..  test, and a heart monitor it was decided I needed a pacemaker.  I am not feeling as fatigues as before and today's bpm is between 52 and 60.  

I just don't know which way to go with this.  I am active all day long, every day, eat a very healthy diet, so maybe this low bpm is normal for me???  

As long as I do not pass out, I think I would prefer fatigue and the ocassional lightheadedness to a procedure with such a long and restrivtive recovery, and getting a pm may not even make me feel better anyway. at least according to many comments I have read from pm recipients..

Anyone else feels this way?

Fatigue

by AgentX86 - 2022-09-02 19:00:23

Dont do it! SSS is degenerative.  It'll continue to get worse.  It's "light headed" today and may be syncope tomorrow.  If you have pauses longer than four or five seconds, you need a pacemaker NOW.

Syncope doesn't sound all that bad but if you're on stairs, or in the coral with your horses, it could be fatal.  If you're driving, it coud not only be fatal but you might take a child with you. Sorry to be a david-downer but if your cardiologist says you need this, you need it!

The surgery is a piece of cake and recovery is normally about as simple as you can get.  Just follow the minor restrictions and you'll be fine. 

SSS is, without question, the easiest possible heart electrical disorder to fix. The pacemaker is only a backup system and will only take over when things go sideways with your sinus node. Other than that, it's just sit there to watch over you.  You'll likely be back to normal, except for the minor limitations for a few weeks, the next day or even later that day.

It's a piece of cake and particularly if SSS is the only issue. There really isn't much to recover from. Don't risk your life for something so simple.

SSS

by Lavender - 2022-09-02 21:54:26

Why wait for it to get worse and risk other dangers? I read this:

Complications of sick sinus syndrome include:

Atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Heart failure

Stroke

Cardiac arrest

Most people with sick sinus syndrome eventually need a permanent device to control the heart rhythm (pacemaker).

I don't know why you keep thinking it's a long and restrictive recovery! Not so for the majority of people!

 

What the other members said

by Persephone - 2022-09-04 15:42:51

Best wishes on your implant and I hope you're feeling better very soon. Daily variations in heart rate may not be a great indicator of your current situation. Don't take the situation lightly.

Hi Zoey

by ibcline - 2022-09-06 11:03:07

I had a pacemaker implanted on 8/22/22. I feel so much better and have energy and I am not sluggish anymore.me and my wife have horses. I use my right hand to do everything in the barn since the pacemaker was installed on my left side. Definitely challenging but doable. God bless.

Had same issues

by skigrl3 - 2022-09-13 06:44:48

I had low HRm same type sinus issues. I , too was concerned about recovery, my career, which is a huge part of my life, etc as well as other issues concerning my immediate post-op situaltion (logistics, ride home,etc). I even worked the morning of the procedure, heading straight over to the pre-op area. The rehab was a little tough that 1st week to 10 days, I had the procedure on a thursday, took friday and weekend to rest, although friday I did get some work related issues/calls that had to be dealt with,  worked from home the following monday, back in work tuesday. Although I am in great shape and recovered well, in retrospect, I should have went totally off the grid, took care of myself and also should have taken another day or two off work, they would have survived! As someone here said, put the oxygen mask on yourself first so they you can help others. Good luck, please don't cancel your procedure - its worth it, you will feel better in the long run.

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