Did I make a mistake?

Some days I wake up thinking I made a mistake getting a PM and just want it gone. 
My brief story. Diagnosed with bradycardia in June, no symptoms except fatigue. 69 years old and no chronic health issues. In July, HR started going into the 35-37 range most of the day, every day, but still no symptoms. Saw my EP and he said he believed it was time for PM. Now, looking back, I feel like I reacted in fear. I don't know what I would do if I had a "do-over". 
I confess I have anxiety like I haven't had in years and that scares me too. Several years ago, I had a major depression. I've got to keep my anxiety under control. 
Open to suggestions, particularly related to anxiety. 
Thanks for listening....
 


11 Comments

Bradycardia

by AgentX86 - 2023-08-19 22:35:48

Hi NCBLUE,

With a heart rate that low, your organs weren't getting the oxygen they required. I can understand that you were reacting in fear.  Fear is a natural reaction to danger.  You were in serious danger and now you aren't. It really is that easy.

I would suggest engaging in professional help for your anxiety.  Your heart is now good and it's time to work on the rest of you. Perhaps a cognitive behavioral therapist would be helpful.

no mistake

by new to pace.... - 2023-08-19 23:09:19

If your heart has been beating that low , yes it is time for pacemaker to help you to live better.  now it is time for you to fill in your bio.  With make, model and your location.  Sometimes this information helps us to answer you better.

new to pace

Decision

by Penguin - 2023-08-20 10:05:40

These decisions are made under medical advice and our cardiologists have to justify their reasons for implanting a device against set criteria and guidelines.  There is then a consent conversation during which your preferences and any risks / benefits of pacing should have been discussed. Similarly any effects of existing and supplementary medication are usually discussed.

I mention this to reassure you that it is unlikely that the decision was taken lightly. A cardiologist could not knowingly implant a pacemaker that wasn't deemed necessary and would face quite some repercussions if they did.   Patients can't insist on a pacemaker unless they need one!

Therefore perhaps it would help your 'buyers regret' if you looked at this as a medical decision rather than a decision which you took yourself. 

You emphasise anxiety and depression in your post but don't explain why you feel that these diagnoses are relevant to your question and your doubts.  Perhaps you could explain further if you are comfortable doing so but please don't suffer in silence. 

Fear

by zawodniak2 - 2023-08-20 10:12:24

15 years ago I got my first pace maker months after passing out and breaking a rib resulting in  ambulance ride it ER and 4 days in hospital.  I am now on my second with the third coming due in several months. 
When I asked the EP what were the downsides of getting a pace maker if I really did not need it----he said I would be needing one in the future!

Before long after getiing the first pace maker my heart slowly went into heart block and I became 100% dependent on the pace maker. 
1. the EP was right

2.for an 81 year old I have good energy all day long, albeit not a runner

3  no dizziness

4. no side effects from the pace maker 

5. to me the biggest positive is I no longer have the constant anxiety of fatigue or passing out at an inconvienent and dangerous time-like driving

GET A PACE MAKER AND ENJOY LIFE

            RODGER

 

Regrets

by Julros - 2023-08-20 12:55:47

Depression and anxiety just plain suck. But, if you've had them in the past, you know you can feel better. Talking to someone can certainly help, and I hope you are reaching out. I know that it can be tough to find that help, but please keep trying. 

I noticed about 4 years ago that I was so tired, and quickly became short of breath with any kind of effort. I sought medical care, found out my heart rate was 30-40 and eventually got a pacemaker implanted. I noticed a difference right away-- more energy, colors looked brighter, food tasted better. I started walking more, then progressed to jogging and cycling. I did talk to counselors (took me 3 to find a good fit) and realized I was dealing with PTSD. She also urged me to change providers, because I wasn't being listened to. 

I have a wonderful EP and cardiologist now who care about how I feel. I do mindfulness exercises every morning and feel hopeful. You can get there too. Look for pleasurable activities and find things to be grateful for. I have a theory for those of us who dealt with low heart rate for sometime in that our nervous systems are cranked up and stuck on high. We get a ton of circulating adrenaline and need to dial it down. Breathing exercises can really help. I suggest using a phone app like Calm or Headspace to coach you in this. 

Take care, dear. 

Fainting

by Lurker - 2023-08-20 13:01:29

If your heart rate is that low you are in danger of fainting.

Fainting while driving is frowned upon,  no matter where you live.

I fainted once,at home, went AFib 3 times, had the paddles 3 times, 

I didn't really care what they did as long something was done.

I turned 85 today, still here, and still grouchy.

When I turned 75 I used tell people I was 3/4 of the way there.

Like Rodger says  "get a pace maker and enjoy life"

 

Doc DX

 

 

 

Anxiety

by Selwyn - 2023-08-21 12:03:03

What is to be done?

1. Avoid substances. - that is caffeine, alcohol, street drugs, and self  medication.

2. Take proper exercise  - if possible, yoga is helpful. 

3. Look on-line for relaxation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing.

4. Talk about your anxieties  ( eg. counselling,  a good friend, a minister, doctor, etc).

5. Cognative behavioural therapy ( this can be on-line, or with a trained therapist)

6. Group Therapy ( plenty of anxiety groups)

7. Medical advice

8. Tackle the little, easy things that cause anxiety. Often it is 'the last straw that breaks the camel's back".), once the overall anxiety is less, the harder problems can be tackled.

Anxiety is the commonest medical condition seen in family medicine. We are made to have "flight or fight" as a survival mechanism. Unfortunately, it is a learnt response, and as such can be unlearnt. 

Understandable

by PacedNRunning - 2023-08-21 14:57:01

Hearts keep us alive and if your heart is acting wonky it needs help. Could be your age at 68 is why they wanted to implant one to keep you safe. I had HR down to 28Bpm and never offered a pacemaker but I was 46. I never had symptoms, so no symptoms mean my body was able to function well at 28 bpm. I usually averaged 30-40 sleeping and 40-50's daytime. 28 was sleeping. Our bodies are Amazing and complicated. They have many back ups to back ups. When the back ups fail, we have symptoms. I think you made a wise decision. I too felt I may have gotten mine too soon but I had heart block. Much more serious than bradycardia. My doctor couldn't put it in fast enough. I knew I would eventually get one. The question was when. Soon or later! I choose sooner because the risk of injury or dying wasn't worth it. I think you did the right thing. If not now you would have eventually gotten one. Better sooner to be safe. 

I was having "buyers remorse" too

by rosebud120 - 2023-08-23 20:59:31

Hi NCblueyes--

Had my implant on July 18 without a lot of background information from my cardiologist about the pros and cons of the procedure. And then his nurse challenged my cardiologist's decision to implant a pacemaker. 

Felt so lousy, alone, anxious, and scared for the first 10 days. Thank heavens I found this support group and thank heavens you did too.

My greatest fear was that I was no longer going to be able to be as active as I want to be. I'm not an Olympic athelete by any means but I recovered very quickly from knee and hip surgery. I want to swim, walk, hike, and travel. But immediately post surgery--I could not walk 100 feet without being short of breath.

Hard to tell if I'm striking a chord with you---if any of these feelings are similar to what you have felt. 

Walk, meditate, talk to someone, post to this website, spoil yourself. Reach out to your doctor. Do things that make you happy. 

I'm almost 5 weeks past surgery. I'm learning to live with my pacemaker and adjusting to it.

Best of luck. Please private message me if I can help. 

I believe I did.

by Onion_Custard - 2023-09-06 18:10:57

I'm a little over six months out from my PM and bitterly regret agreeing to having it put in. I should have just made final arrangements while I was still able to be understood. My medical "professionals" have either been keeping me in the dark or using my condition to try to sell me devices I don't need. Not seeing much point to any of this.

Bradycardia mistake???

by skigrl3 - 2023-09-09 19:53:26

I, too am a fainter with bradycardia and heart block my whole life until I finally passed out during a power walk in front of a nursing home (where an ambulance was sitting in wait!) The procedure was fine, soreness of course and the nasty wound healing. But after I started recouperating and going out and about (2 weeks in) I was extremely short breath and couldn't walk far. I am athletic so for me this was a HUGE red flag and I thought for sure I was going into heart failure and would be dead shortly. Thought I made the biggest mistake in my life..... Well I kept at the walking, and a week later things started turning around. I attribute the weakness and shortness of breath to accommodating the device, but regardless I know getting the pm was not a mistake. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Take care.

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