New Pacemaker CRT-P excercise concerns as well as aches and pains!!

Hi Guys Very new to this game so treat me gently please!

Im 78yrs of age,and very quickly is that over the last 12 months I have endured being told I suffer from severe heart failure in the shape of left venticular block.PLus a great deal of work as follows.

I had an emrgency trip on the 14th Feb 2018 to have stent fitted to my main artery(which Im told saved my life).I then went on to have a series of tests,some such as the cardio MRI 90 minutes sqeezed into a small tube,very difficult especially regarding bodily functions.

On the 31st Octiober 2018 I travelled 60 miles to have a 3hr op which proved unsuccessful.

Then again on New years Eve 2018 I had another 3 hr op again which was unsuccesful,followed by an appointment for another op on the 9th Jan 2019,on this day I was taken down met by the anaesthic team plus the surgeons,then sat for 4 hrs outside the op room,until I was finally told my op had been cancelled due to emergencys.(Cant argue with that)

Finally I had another op on the 23rd jan 2019 this time under a full general which took 2 hours and now sport a new shiny pacemaker CRT-P Boston VISIONIST X4.

After all of that I have spent the last 4 weeks bruised from head to toe,worn out and very sore,I'm constantly scared by sudded chest pains etc which Im told by my clinic are muscle pains namely my Heart reacting to all of the highly invasive work carried out over such a short period of time.Even my consultant Ed Davies said "I was wondering if I had put you through too much!"

Before I go on (Boring I bet!),I should say that throughout all of this I never lost faith in my cardiac team,and have since been plugged in to show my pacemaker is working a treat,my meds which include apixaban Im gradually getting used to.

I should also explain,that initially my  lack of mobility, and none use of my interests, was put down to arthritis,this continued for almost 4 yrs with very little outside activity.So much for GP's!!!

Now im feeling more my old self the arthriris symptoms are a thing of the past.I have the full back up of my pacemaker clinic plus a visiting cardio nurse with rehab promised in the future.

Im very keen to obtain some activity,and my goal is to get back into my bike saddle,and pick up my fishing and walking the dogs on our lovely sandy Devon beaches.So can members of the Forum who have had the patince to read thorugh all of this,first explain to me what pain/aches etc I should ignore as part healing recovery process as oppossed to those that pose a threat.?

equally when can I start to exercise and what exercise can I do prior to supervised rehab?

The time has come with all the expense that has been expended upon me, as well as getting the best of equipment and meds, to at some point soon, put it to the test and see what fresh air feels like!

I appreciate I have been a bit flippant in parts,but smile and you get a smile back,cry and the pity wanes very quickly.

Any advice or comments I can assure you I will take on board and with you guys experience, act upon as advised..Thank you in advance.


Through the wringer

by Theknotguy - 2019-02-11 10:14:50

We would say in the states you've been through the wringer.  Glad to see you aren't whinging about the whole ordeal.  It really helps that you aren't.  

I won't bore you with my details but I went through the wringer too.  I had the same question of what's next also.  Since there are differences between the medical services in the US and the UK, I'll let you know what I did, then you can see if the same options are available to you.  

While I was waiting for my rehab program to kick in, I started walking.  At first it was 800 feet in the AM.  Then I'd take an hour nap.  Then take another  800 foot walk in the PM followed by another nap.  I gradually worked up the distance I would walk until I was doing over a mile two times a day.  Not strenuous walking, but something to keep me going.  No dogs and no one pushing me to go faster or further.  

If at all possible, see if you have access to some kind of heart rehabilitation program.  Like I said, don't know what you have in the UK.  The rehab program I had made sure you had trained nurses who supervised physical activities to get your muscles built back up. My rehab lasted several weeks.  At first I'd return exhausted but it got better as I went further into the program. 

I finished the heart rehab and they brought the dogs back.  I'd sit on the floor and be a dog sandwich.  I'd have one dog lying on my left leg and the other on the right.  Couldn't move unless they knew what I was doing.  Since the bigger dog was 55 plus pounds and we have a leash law, I'd attach her leash to my belt.  That was if she bolted she was less likely to pull me down.  The other dog was smaller so I held his leash in my hand on the side opposite my pacemaker. The dogs and I started out at about 1500 feet and worked up to over two miles at one session.  The dogs didn't care about the distance, only that we spent the time together and they got to walk.  So don't worry if you used to walk longer distances with the dogs before.  

I was also able to attend another rehab program (for which I paid) to strengthen my upper body muscles.  The old way of thinking for weight lifting was,  "no pain, no gain" and I had had enough pain from the heart issues.  I didn't look forward to it at first.  Surprisingly the therapists said that if I had a lot of pain from the sessions, they hadn't done their job correctly.  So we ended up doing some really strange exercises lifting two and three pound weights.  You never got sore but you sure did tire out quickly.  They'd tell me to do five to ten repetitions and then quit.  One of the exercises was to hold your arm full out at a 45 degree angle from the body and lift a two pound weight from your knee to your shoulder level.  No big deal, right?   After about seven repetitions your arm would turn to rubber and you'd have to stop.  That was it.  No soreness but you sure did get tired.  

After the two therapy sessions and the walking sessions with the dogs, I was in a lot better shape.  Since there was a lot of trauma, (broken ribs and the like) it took me two years to get back to "normal".  But it was all small steps.  I may walk a half mile for two to three days until I felt like going further.  No one pushed me to do more and no one held me back.  Just slow, steady progress.  

As for the dogs, you can't beat the cold nose and the warm heart.  They somehow sensed I wasn't fully OK and that was fine with them.  You'd be out walking with them and they'd do something goofy and I'd have to stop and laugh.  It's really hard to stay in a depressed mood when you're laughing.  The bigger dog likes a treat called chicken jerky tenders.  Needless to say, after helping me through rehab, when she wants 'em she gets 'em.

Hope everything goes well for you.  Hang in there!


by AgentX86 - 2019-02-12 11:17:17

After I had my bypass surgery (November '14), my wife would take me (no driving for six weeks) shopping every day, then to lunch and more shopping. We have no indoor malls around here, so it was mostly Home Depot, Walmart, and large department stores. The idea was to walk as much as I could and have a place to sit when I couldn't. Basically, MOVE.

I was well prepared for Cardiac Rehab, when the time came, and quite enjoyed it. After that, we joined a gym and continued walking. I now do 20 miles a day, eight of which are on a treadmill.

I'm younger than you but the point is that one builds slowly but it's essential that you move. Find something you like, or can at least tolerate (thank the deities for Netflix and Prime) and do it.

Reply TOtheknot guy

by caskin - 2019-02-15 07:46:19

Many thanks for your most reassurring reply to my post.I would like to think that I would be able to manage all that you have done,without meaning to patronise you Im very impressed.

As for the dogs how right you are,my husky weighs in about 50kg where as the Jack Russell closcks in around 4kg,quite a difference but as you say they know when something is wrong, and have cheered me up on numerous occasions,thankfully they get on very well together.So to get back on track,I have so far managed about 2 hrs or so in the garden which hasnt been touched in about 2 years,walking is still difficult as I have been immobile now for almost 4 years due to inital diagnosos of Arthrirtis!!!

But this after noon my wife and  i intend taking our first safari to the local mall, about a round trip of 1 mile,and then hopefully I will slowly build up on that..Like you we too have cardiac district nurses who visit on a regular basis,, as soon as they feel I can cope I am then initaited into the local rehab class,which has no time limit,,the aim being to bring you along steadily but safely/I dont think for one moment I will reach your lofty heights,but if I can get back on the dance floor,plus walk the dogs over our miles and miles of sandly beaches with maybe some fishing included I shall be more than happy,but Im well aare of the old adage "softly softly catchee monkey"

So on that note my friend I will heed your words and plod on slowly but continually.Thanks to some very skilled gentleman and staff I am where I am now,and fully intend remaining as long as possible.Plus Im very lucky in having a very secure and happy marriage which in its self has helped enormously with recovery after each and every procedure!

Reply to AgentX86

by caskin - 2019-02-15 07:57:23

Love the exotic non-de-plume!!  Just a quick note to thank you for your reply.I do get the message, that the key issue is movement and exercise,but as I explained in my other reply,that due to incorrect initial diagnosis I was kept virtually housebound by meciation and diagnosis of Arthritis!!

But with that behind me and the cardiologist making short work of my so called Arthritis,Im now in much better place to as you say, make the MOVE which hopefully will get me to where I want to be,and genuinly give me my life and interests back.So as they say here in the UK "More power to your elbow" and good luck for the future.

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