Drummer with no excuse...

Good evening from the 'land down under'!

I'm a recent recipient of a Medtronic ICD (nicknamed 'The Flux Capacitor'), installed Feb this year. The circumstances around it's installation were sudden and immediate having had no cardiac issues in my previous 49 years but to suddenly suffer blackouts and two cardiac arrests a week apart from each other, there was no over choice but to walk out of CCU with a device. The best part about it was the fact that I could 'walk' out of the CCU.

I have been a performing musicians since my early teens. I play drums (thus the post title), bass, guitar, sing, as well as write and perform my own material (shameless promotion https://open.spotify.com/artist/3SjZNf1pEUQhPFEEMlE5OH?si=8nOM6ZuURhSeivXyjXB_9g ). I'm currently a member of an Australian KISS tribute: KISS THISS as well as a classic rock cover band called Million Dollar Riff. I'm still on hiatus from performing live and here's why...

The KISS tribute were onboard a cruise ship to perform a series of shows. I collapsed in the second song of the first show in front of a packed theatre. I was taken to the ships hospital where I was placed on a bed and arrested. I have vivid memories of being revived and being externally paced for a great deal of the journey into Sydney where I was offloaded and spent the next 10 days in the critical care unit. I was looked after by some of Australia's leading cardiologists while there undergoing a battery of tests. A week to the day later I was about to undergo a PET scan (similar to and MRI but with nuclear medicine) when I laid down on the table and went into arrest again. The doctors then and there decided that the ICD was the best course of action, even without a firm diagnosis. To this day they still have not discovered the root cause of my situation which remains a source of frustration for me in that I don't know what behaviours to avoid, nor have any clear triggers. The Flux Capacitor has staved off any further incidents which I am very grateful for. 

With the support of family and friends I have strived to remain positive and upbeat about my future. With the best wife in the world I've been able share and celebrate the recovery milestones, while dealing with small hurdles both physically and mentally, although I do still have moments of anxiety with the odd uncomfortable feeling in my chest (mostly indigestion) or moments of dizziness. The anxiety has also kept me from performing live as the whole situation happened while doing something that I love and now attribute being onstage with the fear of my collapse happening again. I am working through this with a therapist and also the unwaivering supportive conversations with my wife. I am working towards that goal. I just need to trust The Flux Capacitor has my back and my best interests at heart...yep I said it!

Thank you for reading my story and I hope to be a positive member of this club and provide strong words of encouragement as I have seen the overwhelming kindness of many members already just reading through some of the posts before joining. 

BTW - I titled this essay 'Drummer with no excuse' as some of us drummers are accused of not being able to keep time. Now I have proof I can!

Cheers, Paul      

       

   


8 Comments

Wowsers🤩

by Lavender - 2023-05-25 10:19:32

Your story is a familiar one-minus being in a rock band and traveling 😜

The passing out part is a commonplace opening act in this band, of which you're a member!

You said, " I do still have moments of anxiety with the odd uncomfortable feeling in my chest (mostly indigestion) or moments of dizziness. The anxiety has also kept me from performing live as the whole situation happened while doing something that I love and now attribute being onstage with the fear of my collapse happening again."

 

Yep, you will indeed have some odd uncomfortable feelings and moments -that will hopefully ease up in time. 
 

Anxiety goes with the post traumatic stress syndrome. I passed out many times over six months before they finally figured out I have a rare arrhythmia called ventricular standstill. I was like a toy doll dropping flat when the battery pack is removed. I developed a fear of being alone or driving. After getting a pacemaker (I don't have an ICD-I have a CRT-P), I had anxiety because I stopped trusting my body. 
 

I didn't want to go anywhere. When I did, I was anticipating more of the fainting (which never happened again) AND I wanted to leave and get home. What was worse was going to this one store where I had dropped in a dead faint and even had a near death experience. (That had happened to me at home too right before getting my pacemaker). Near death experiences were so pleasant! Reality of living was much harder!
 

I started by forcing myself to drive a few miles to the store to get a few things. In time I was able to shop and go to longer lunches with friends. At first, restaurants freaked me out just waiting so long for the food. I couldn't relax and my anxiety got worse if I felt trapped there too long. 
 

I have had my device two years and I think it took seven months til I noticed that it didn't bother me having it. Give it time, 73Rawk💗

Will you still be permitted to rock on and drum with your ICD?  Will the loud speakers be an issue with the vibration?

 

Do this as soon as your doc allows-get a massage from a licensed professional. Take nature walks with your woman.  Be good to yourself!🥁 Your life has been saved!!

Fav KISS song-"Beth"  😉

oh...and... most importantly, my faith carries me through!  Prayer and meditation are my daily pill to cope with life's unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant surprises. Headphones with meditation by Michael Sealey-easily found on youtube-esp his ones on anxiety and/or pain are so healing!

 

 

Being battery powered....

by Echoplex - 2023-05-25 12:13:09

Similar situation for myself - in that I had no idea I had anything wrong with me - I drove into ER thinking I had food poisoning/gut issues - and I'm now 9 weeks out and I'd say I'm 97% OK now re: physically and mentally healing from the shock/trauma/surgery. The mental side has been the most challenging. 


I understand the anxiety, I was scared to leave the house for a while, but forced myself into the car, and back to the office, and back into my kids' lives/activities. I'd never passed out before in my life, but I flatlined/code blue about 4 hours after walking into the ER, and that has scared the beejeebus out of me ... that's been my huge "WHAT IF!!!!". What if I'm driving, what if I'm sleeping and my kids find me.... y'know? but I took the kids and I on a big ol' daytrip to a remote beach 2 and a bit hours from home to go fossil hunting on the weekend :D So I'm not only back to the day-to-day stuff, but our family adventures - I'm sure you'll find your way back to your passions too. 
I really do think that there needs to be more mental health support for those of us who find ourselves a member of this club with no warning. 
I don't know where my mind would be if I hadn't found this club, I really don't, but I am HEAPS grateful for it. 
 


 

Great name for your device.

by Gotrhythm - 2023-05-25 16:30:28

Love the pet name you've given your device Flux Capacitor! That's the best one yet. Naming the device seems a little silly to some, but it really helps to move one along to acceptance and also to overcome the fear that somehow it's the device--rather than our heart condition--that is fragile and the device is causing our feelings of vulnerability. It's not.

We've just had a giant wake up call. We have had to recognize a truth about being alive that many people would rather never contemplate. And few people your age have to. "Mortality" is not just an intellectual concept. We know that "mortal" means us.

Welcome to the club.

Thank you...

by 73Rawk - 2023-05-25 21:43:34

Thank you guys for your welcome and comments. It's good to have a support network outside of my normal circles and with people who know exactly what I'm going through.

Lavender - 'Beth' is performed by me every show we do. There may be footage on Youtube (again shameless promotion...lol).

Echoplex - when I stray to the negative side of thinking I keep reminding myself it's only been four months and it takes time. I have grey days every so often, the last being Mothers Day for us in Aust a couple weeks ago. It was a teary day for me and being a stoic individual most of my life it was tough to get through.   

Gotrhythm - I started with Arc Reactor but it's not positioned right (Iron Man) so I adopted Flux Capacitor. It was also a way to help my youngest daughter, who struggles with high anxiety, cope with my situation. The Back To The Future series is big in our household and linking that positive experience to a negative one I hope helped her.  

Drummer

by AgentX86 - 2023-05-25 22:55:47

The only problem real problem you're going to have is getting your arm back in shape and perhaps getting back in shape yourself.  Drumming is a very physical activity, far more so than any other musical instrument.  It's probably more work than the rest of the band, put together.

You're going to sweat like the proverbial "pig".  You'll have to make very sure that you keep hydrated.  You'll have to drink a lot of water but also sodium.  Most have the opposite problem but your problem will most likely be a sodium shortage.  Not only sweat will deplete your sodium reserves but drinking a lot of water will too (pee). In a perfect world, the kidneys will regulate blood sodium content as well as possible but we aren't in a perfect world.

If you feel any sort of arrythmia, look here first.

In good hands

by piglet22 - 2023-05-26 07:02:52

We all face these out of the blue problems.

It's like the cancer statistic that every 1 in 3 or whatever knows someone who has or suffers themselves from this disease. Then you find out it's true.

The same applies to heart problems. They are very, very common. It's not until you get one that you realise that's true too.

It happens and you move on. Electrical problems with the heart are very well understood and many are very fixable.

You certainly aren't alone and in this forum, you will find people who know as much as the consultants and probably more forthcoming in explaining things and giving real life experiences and advice.

Yes, your device is a friend and why not give it a name, it deserves it.

Good luck and rock on.!

 

Another Drummer Here

by IronMike - 2023-05-31 15:27:33

Good for you Paul! I've had one for 12yrs and it hasn't hindered drumming at all! Beat those drums with conviction! 

35 years

by dwelch - 2023-05-31 22:07:54

drums are more of a hobby/relaxation for me and not something I could do professionally I have hit the limit of my skill level.

As for you I am confident that getting back on stage will be no more challenging that getting out of bed or walking down the stairs, or any other situation that you could technically have another event.

One day at a time, one step at a time, one beat at a time you will get there.  Very happy to hear you are talking to someone and they should be able to help you disassociate the fun/work and the event.  Not to put fears in your head you are more likely to have some one hit you in the head with a thrown beer bottle than have another one of these events.  Turn your negative anxiety energy into to positive energy...

 

Keep on rockin, yeah I said it.

You know you're wired when...

Friends call you the bionic man.

Member Quotes

I am just thankful that I am alive and that even though I have this pacemaker it is not the end of the world.