Scared Newbie

Hi all... 

I went to my ER on Friday early AM with what I thought was food poisoning from a dodgy Harvey's, and 12 hours later after a code blue, I had a pacemaker fitted. 

I had a complete heart block, I'm 48 female, with no prior issues in my health or heart, no high cholesterol or blood pressure .. so I'm reeling at the moment. The cardiologist had no answers as to why this happened but is willing to keep investigating. 

Things feel very different now, and still sore from the surgery, and it is very hard to not over think all the new feelings etc. and not panic that this magic pebble is going to fail and I'm going to leave my kids. 

Is this anxiety etc all normal? I'm more tired to the point of falling asleep on the sofa twice a day, and I have like weird light headed moments - not the same passing out feelings I had in the ER.

I want to get on with life, but feared that the pacemaker will fail it'll be gane over. 





by docklock - 2023-03-28 15:41:42

Welcome to the Club.  Heck of an entrance.   
what you're experiencing is perfectly normal.  We all went thru many of the same things you've having. 
spend some time exploring some of the bazillion posts and you'll see what I mean.  

glad you found us

by Tracey_E - 2023-03-28 16:04:34

You are not alone!! What you are feeling is not unusual. It can take some time to wrap your head around it. 

A few things

First, pacers failing is virtually unheard of. However, if it were to fail, your heart would simply go back to how it was before you were paced. Not ideal, but not life threatening either. I'm a few years older than you at 56 but have been paced for av block since 1994. I'm still thriving. There is no evidence whatsoever that having these will shorten our lifespan. Once we heal, they are very little inconvenience. 

Cholesterol and blood pressure issues cause clogged arteries. Exercising and staying fit keeps the heart muscle strong. Eating right prevents plumbing problems. Electrical problems tend to happen at random, ofen in an otherwise healthy heart, and as you learned, sometimes suddenly. It's good to have tests to rule out anything else going on. Heart block can be caused by infection, surgery, medication. There is a genetic link between mothers with Lupus and children with heart block, so if your mom has Lupus that could be where it came from. But more often than not there is no known cause and no amount of tests is going to shred light on it. And at this point, it's fixed with the pacer so it doesn't really matter what caused it. 

If you have any questions at all about healing or living with it, please don't hesitate to ask! I promise once the shell shock wears off, it won't be as bad as it probably feels like it will be right now. 

If you are having symptoms, ask to be seen. They send us home with settings that are a good guess, but it's common to need to fine tune them because we are all different. 

Trust comes with time. As you feel better and get back to your normal routine, it gets easier to trust that the pacer will do it's job. It's a high tech computer, much more dependable than our wonky electrical systems. 

Perfectly Natural

by SeenBetterDays - 2023-03-28 16:26:41

It's absolutely normal to feel a whole spectrum of emotions at this point - anger, frustration, fear, all completely normal in this situation.  You have had a huge shock, physical and emotional, and it will take some time to adjust.  I was 49 when I had my first pacemaker for complete heart block and had been, as far as I knew, fit and healthy up to that point so completely relate to your circumstances. I have yet to discover what caused my electrics to fail but, having joined this club, have learned that many of us never really pinpoint the cause.  Please try not to worry about the device failing.  It's quite natural to feel nervous but pacemakers are very reliable and you will be in a much safer position now than you were prior to having your surgery.  When our conduction system starts to fail we are on dangerous ground and you can be reassured that your new device will be giving your heart the support it needs to keep beating steadily. The important thing at this point is to talk to those close to you about how you feel. We have all been there so can answer many of your questions or alleviate worries you may have. It is early days so give yourself time to heal and adjust to this change in your body. I am thinking of you and understand how you might be feeling that your world has been turned on its head.  Just know that there are people here to support and walk alongside you.

Gentle hugs 💐

by Lavender - 2023-03-28 17:38:47

❤️‍🩹many many of us got the same surprise pacemaker! I have complete heart block. I was told it's my natural aging of my electrical system. It reached its expiration date. I had fainted for six months before they caught my rare ventricular standstill on a monitor when I dropped in my livingroom. It was a 33 second pause. 

I have a CRT-P, Boston Scientific. I'm two years into it. I was verry traumatized emotionally but not so much physically when I came home with my new device. I felt old and broken. I no longer trusted my body. I was afraid to be alone. I didn't leave the house much. I prayed and meditated. I took naps often. I was exhausted mentally. 

About the seven month mark, I noticed that I was feeling really so much better. I'm back to me and all that means. Lol

I did have four woozy spells within the first six months of having my pacemaker, but didn't faint. It was due to water. You are going to need more than you used to drink to stay hydrated. Be sure to move the arm on the pacemaker side often-just keep the elbow below your shoulder. Stop wearing the sling if you haven't already. 

Your pacemaker has bought you the life you planned with your kids. You had a sneaky deadly problem that's been discovered and defeated! Thank God it was fixed! Your mind will catch up with your body and heal too. 

Don't worry!

by fattima - 2023-03-29 01:08:53

You really have had to take a lot in at once.

I felt pretty down and anxious when my heart condition was first diagnosed and years later when I had (recently) my ICD/pacemaker operation I felt very down, very much as Lavender has expressed so well.

It is about six weeks since my operation and I'm feeling much better. 

I felt very lightheaded (could barely stand up) and tired after surgery but this was put down to the beta blockers they had me on. They have taken me off them and I feel much better. Talk to your as it might be to do with the medication they have given you/

Wishing you all the best. This forum was really helpful for me as a newbie, hope it helps you too.

New PM

by piglet22 - 2023-03-29 10:14:19


Being told you need a pacemeaker always comes as a shock to the system but obviously you had some problems and the pacemaker is there to help you get back to normal.

Life is what it is.

You are certainly part of a very big group of people of all ages all healthiness, rich or poor and it includes some celebs politicians etc.

See it as your new friend.

As fattima says don't forget to keep your medication if any, checked as well. Beta-blockers can be troublesome, so get your GP involved as well if you get any symptoms.

Fear of Failure

by Gotrhythm - 2023-03-29 13:49:19

Since you mentioned your fear that the pacemaker could fail twice in your post, I figured you might need two reassurances-- one more in addition to Tracey's.

First of all, I think everyone,when getting used to the thought of living with a pacemaker wonders "What happens if it fails? Will I die?" You're not alone in that.

Let's look at the fear head on. If, in the extremely unlikely event, your pacemaker did fail, you would not keel over dead. You would just have the same heart condition that you had before--a heart that beats perfectly well. It just needs help communicating the timing of the beats between all the parts. It would be an emergency, yes. You wouldn't feel good, and you would need to call 911, but you wouldn't expire on the spot.

Pacemakers are very reliable. But just in case, there are a lot of safe guards. First you have your bedside monitor, which will send the results of nightly checkups. Then, you'll have an checkup every six months at the clinic just to make sure everything is functioning as it should.

I know that for parents of young children the thought of what would happen to my kids is wreching than the thought of one's own death. Take comfort in the knowledge that with the--extremely reliable--pacemaker in place, the chances that you will be there for them for a long, long time are actually better now than they used to be.

Take heart! [smile]


by Echoplex - 2023-03-29 15:41:51

HUGE thank you's for the reassurances. Thank you thank you!
I don't take any meds other than 500mg metformin, and they started me on a 5g of a cholestorel med, I've never been on the latter before, and my cholesterol isn't high - they said it's a preventative thing. 
That being said - I am definitely going to watch my water intake - it was lousy before - I'm guessing I need to double or triple my water intake efforts now. 
But really - truly - thank you for the talking me down :-) 
More help here than I had on the weekend, so I'm very glad I found this group! 
I have my first device care appointment on Monday, and I'm HOPING they'll remove my staples - they give me the heebiejeebies .. :D 

Thanks again, Wendy

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I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for pacemakers. I've had mine for 35+ years. I was fainting all of the time and had flat-lined also. I feel very blessed to live in this time of technology.