Just Feeling Strange

I have had my pacemaker implanted 3 weeks ago for stage 3 block after passing out at work. I am a soon to be 65 year old male in pretty good physical condition. I found out that my pacemaker is pacing 93% of the time for my ventricles. My comment or question is "How long until you get used to this?" My heart just feels so different. Sometime it feels like butterflies in my chest and other times it sems to take my breath away. Is this mormal and if so, will I ever get accustomed to it? Thanks.


How long?

by Theknotguy - 2019-02-17 08:22:59

Good question.  Answer is, it depends.  It depends upon body type, how sensitive you are to the pacemaker, mental attitude, reaction of family members,  all sorts of stuff.  

They usually set the voltage a little higher for about the first 30 days or so.  For people who are a little more sensitive, they can feel the pacemaker.  And that, of course, bothers you.  Then there is the sensation of a steady heartbeat where the heart beat may have been irregular before so that's another sensation to become accustomed to.  Not to mention you now have this large foreign object in your body and you have to become accustomed to that too.  

I had a lot of trauma before I got my pacemaker.  Broken ribs from CPR, etc.  So there was a lot of healing going on as well as being sensitive to the electrical part of the pacemaker.  I'm one of the rare individuals who can feel some of the things going on.  When they had the voltage set higher I could sometimes feel the tickle of the initial impulse followed by the hard thump of my heart beat.  It would sometimes wake me up at night.  About 30 days in they dropped the voltage.  No big deal, the tech said, "I'm dropping the voltage."  No change, everything went on as normal.  Now I don't feel anything unless it some unusual circumstance, usually when they're testing the pacemaker.  After about six months I returned to working in a charity woodshop.  Went back to throwing wood around.  Quite a few new sensations while my body  readjusted to the heavier physical activity. 

Because of the extra healing I had to go through I think it was nine months before I got out of the car and walked across the parking lot without thinking of my pacemaker.  Now I'll go days at a time without thinking of it.  No sensations other than "normal".  Life goes on.  So even though it does take some time, eventually it does happen.  I probably think about mine more than most.  Mainly because I'm on the forum discussing pacemakers so much.  

Hope everything else goes well for you and you adjust quickly.  Hang in there.

Wrong question

by Gotrhythm - 2019-02-17 16:42:15

How long is a rope? Answer: it depends on the rope.

Same way with getting used to pacemaker. Depends on the person, the heart, etc, and a lot depends on attitude.

There's a trick to this living with a pacemaker thing. You need to learn to notice this or that odd feeling, strange beat, without getting all wrapped up in what caused it, or being upset by it, or frantic to have it stop.

Much more useful is the question, "How do you feel?" The more you notice the times when you're feeling good, having a good time, or maybe enjoying again something that a wonky heart made not as enjoyable--the more you notice those things, the sooner you will get accustomed to having a pacemaker.

I know it might be hard to imagine now, but almost everyone gets to a point that they totally forget they have a pacemaker for hours, even days and months at a time.


Follow up

by GaryK - 2019-02-18 08:51:03

Thanks to both of you. I can't tell how much that means to me. I feel a lot better. A cardiologist friend of mine asked me how I was doing and I said OK but feeling weird. He then asked "Are you upright?" I replied "yeah ok, I get your message." He said I was probably having problems for a long time and never noticed it. I will get used to it eventually. It's just a mental thing!

It's just a mental thing!

by MartyP - 2019-02-18 18:15:06

Could very well be ..... One thing the docs don't tell you when you get a PM or for that matter any time something happens to your heart or brain (no so much with anything else, like a broken bone) is that for some, the change can affect your mood.  Most don't have any "mental" reaction but some (like me) will develop some anxiety and/or even depression which can be treated.

Pay attention to what your head is saying and if you feel good your are "good to go", if you feel "sad" or "bad" or "depressed" seek help - I did and I did.

Also 'Just feeling strange"

by Super charged - 2019-02-20 03:29:37

I collapsed and was taken to hospital by ambulance, Pacemaker fitted the next day (31 Jan 2019) so didn't really have time to process or think about it much.  I have had weird goings on for a while and didn't take that much notice, had been tested by Cardiologist who didn't find anything untoward at the time (more than 12 months ago). 

Family were a little shocked at the sudden surgery but I was fine, super charged when I left hospital the next day and feeling pretty good..... then out of nowhere the anxiety started, not because I was worried or thinking about it but perhaps suddenly realised this 'alien' was there for keeps.  I have fluttering and weird short breathing but am mindful of the breathing thing so trying to breath normally. Very similar to your comment "Sometimes it feels like butterflies in my chest and other times it sems to take my breath away".  I guess we just need to let things settle and see how we go.  I found this site yesterday and joined, I am sure we will learn heaps from all participants and won't feel so alone.

You know you're wired when...

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Member Quotes

I've seen many posts about people being concerned about exercise after having a device so thought I would let you know that yesterday I raced my first marathon since having my pacemaker fitted in fall 2004.