Hello everyone, Gemita’s husband Michael here. I have been a member of this Club since 2018 but have not posted before. Just wanted to come along with my own pacemaker Success Story. I am 84 so perhaps I should be slowing down but my nature is always to push myself to do more, to try out something new, since I have been active all my life.
Before getting my pacemaker, I experienced a number of syncope episodes without warning. These started in 2016, when I collapsed in Brienza, Italy (my birthplace). My wife was beside me and tried to support me as I fell to the ground. When I gained consciousness, I couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about and why an ambulance was on its way. I was hungry and lunch was ready and I was more interested in eating than going into hospital. I told the doctors when I arrived that all I needed was a good plate of pastasciutta to feel well again. They gave me some hot chicken broth instead They kept me in overnight for observation and gave intravenous fluids, including magnesium/potassium. I was in Atrial Fibrillation at the time.
In early 2017 I started having more in the way of symptoms - syncope, breathlessness and chest pain. I was found to have an almost total blockage of my left anterior descending artery (LAD) and also an ulcerated right coronary artery (RCA), so I received three stents, two in the LAD and one in the RCA. Immediately after the procedure I suffered a minor left cerebellar stroke while still in hospital which mildly affected my speech and balance. Some weeks after this event, I had another small stroke in the same area, the symptoms of which I foolishly ignored for some hours, not realising what was happening at the time.
During early 2018 while my wife was out, I tried to do some work in the garden using an electric hedge trimmer. I came over faint and fell off the ladder cutting through the electric hedge trimmer cable as I fell, landing heavily on my wife’s sculptured shrub. I tore my left bicep from the strenuous work that day, having already torn the right bicep a few months earlier. The bruising was horrendous and my GP sent me to A&E where they discovered my heart rate was extremely low. A few days later the decision was made to implant a single lead pacemaker to treat my sinus node disease and intermittent heart block. My quality of life since my pacemaker has improved immensely. I still get the occasional dizzy spell but I never lose consciousness anymore.
I have been able to return to most of my activities. I am a member of a Choir and continue to sing proudly with an Italian accent. (Vera Lynn’s war-time songs: The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again are Choir favourites). We sometimes sing at local Care Homes and my wife has made some videos of our performances. I also enjoy meeting up with my several conversational language groups.
I walk daily down to the shops to do some food shopping for my wife, since we no longer have a car. The bus drivers know me well and always greet me warmly and lower the buses to a comfortable level to help me board with my shopping trolley. We lead a simple life but a happy one and in a few weeks time I will be meeting my second great grandchild for the first time. Who would have thought I would have reached the age of 84 when I was fading fast before my pacemaker implant and other interventions. I hope you all have success with your pacemakers and a long and happy life too.
You know you're wired when...
You have a $50,000 chest.
So, my advice is to go about your daily routine and forget that you have a pacemaker implanted in your body.