Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pacemaker Checkup...

I did it!!
I made it through another pacemaker checkup appointment!
I know these should not be as dramatic as they feel to me. But pacemakers in 19 year olds was kind of new when I got mine. And I more often felt like a Guinea pig going into an appointment than a patient. Since my big brother has one, he now can relate. But on my last email for sympathy, he offered some really good advice to get tough and stand up for myself!
I think this has been our role for years, I whimper and reach out for his sympathy and to coddle and take care of me, and he in turn teaches me how to reach inside myself and find that "strong daughter of God will" that he has seen in me all my life, but I couldn't recognize on my own without his brotherly love.
Here is his advice...
(I am the youngest of 4 and used to be very well known in our family as "the official tattle tale", I have never been able to shake the title).
"The biggest thing I hate about those appointments is they are ALWAYS training some newby and they want to show them all about it at your time and expense. Do yourself a favor and pitch a hissy fit if they start training on you and those appointments will go way faster and easier on you too from then on! IT WORKS but you have to put your goody two shoes away and put on your OTT (Official Tattle Tale) Hat and lower the boom, I mean demanding to get the Dr in there or Charge Nurse who ever and if they have to cry, they're just collateral damage! Then you can sit back and enjoy, lol."
Luckily there didn't have to be any "collateral damage" yesterday (LOL... that was pretty funny advice).
I finally got a nurse I knew. Our sons have played baseball together for a few years, and will graduate together.
I run into her volunteering all over our little town for her church. We have lots in common and I was able to have what we call a "come to Jesus" discussion with her where I could lay all the cards on the table. Keeping the trainees out of the room, and get right to the interrogation on my pacemaker, no playing around with the new program on the computer, causing my heart to race up and down, one print quick efficient print out for the doctor to review and that IS IT... it was the best appointment I have had in years.
The final results
  • 0 % usage over the past 12 months
  • 18 months of battery left
  • a small discussion about whether we will need to replace lead wires or not the next time, no decision made there yet.
  • I lost my leisurely annual visits I had talked him into.. I am back to every 2 months now, due to the length of battery time.



Lindsey said...

Maybe this is really simple but how do they replace the battery? Do you have to go in and have "open heart surgery".. maybe no that extreme but I think you get what I am saying? How long does 1 battery last? Sorry this is the medical fascination in me coming out.

Melody said...

You have a PACEMAKER....since you were 19....???? Glad your appointment went the way it did. What a good big brother.

Beth said...

Melody... yes, I have a pacemaker. I thought about writing my whole story on my blog but figured most everyone here knows it already.

Really long story short... I was on a ski trip in Aspen at 19, passed out a few times, they finally captured it on a EKG and figured my heart was good and strong, but I had an electrical short happening.

It was a freak thing, may never happen again, but if it did while driving, I never had time to do anything just total black out all at one time.

So the answer at the time was the pacemaker... if my heart rate dropped below a certain number of beats per min. the pacemaker would kick in and keep me from passing out.

So here I am.... my newest one has memory now so they can see how much I am using it, which I am not anymore. So it is just a safety net for me at this point.

And a fun conversation piece at times.

Lindsey, the battery is inside the pacemaker, so they change the whole thing out (mine is just tucked behind a muscle in my shoulder)... just an outpatient surgery (when I had this done the 1st time I was driving the same day) if they don't have to do anything with the wires that run down into my heart from the pacemaker. If they do have to change out the wires, then that is a much bigger surgery and recovery is longer.

My first battery lasted about 10 years, this one has gone 15 and they expect it to go another year and a half if I don't use it at all.

I have never had any restrictions with having a pacemaker. Only the old old external ones kept you from being around a microwave. I just can't go through the security machines at the airport, I have to go for a pat down now. It's a hassle but I am used to it now.

Thanks for the questions and comments! I just kind of take it for granted anymore... I forget I have it most of the time.

patsy said...

so happy you are not "using it"

good for you for taking care of yourself- that's hard to do for us moms... I know.

Donna Lynn said...

I am sooooo proud of you! Thank you so much for doing this. It gives me peace of mind. As time goes by you will be taking care of us.

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