Work Restrictions after PM

Hello all! I am a newbie and will be getting a Pacemaker in the first week in June. I work in Healthcare in the OR as a Surgical Assistant and do much bending,strecthing, and lifting patients, and work with cautery etc... I am concerned that obviously the first month i will be very limitied as too what i can do, but i am concerned about how this will affect the future as well? If anyone out there who is in the same field or anyone who could offer advice, i would certianly would like to hear as how you dealt with it, how did you break it to your employer, and how it changed what you could and couldn't do, and if you had to make a career change? I am getting this done on a Friday and will be staying overnight. Did any of you take a couple of more days off, prior to going back to work? 



by Theknotguy - 2019-05-12 18:31:09

You don't give us info about what you have - pacemaker?  ICD?  That can make a difference in a hospital setting.  However....

If you look at some of the posts around the forum you'll see I went back to volunteering in a wood shop and am volunteering at a 1300 bed hospital.  I take patients out after being discharged using regular and Staxi wheel chairs.  I don't have any problems moving the patients.  While the rule is that as a volunteer I'm not supposed to move patients over 250 pounds, my running joke is the patients are heavier when they come in and lighter when they go out.  Have gotten into a situation where the patients are 300 pounds if they're an ounce and people swear the patients are 249 pounds.  Yeah, right!!  The patients who are really sick are the wound care clinic patients where they are diabetic and their weight has gotten away from them.  300 pounds and above is the norm and they usually have part of one foot chopped off.  Next they're going to lose a leg from gangrene and we don't have time to wait around an hour for patient transport to show up.  I can move those patients without any problems.  For the heavier ones we have the big Staxi chairs to move them.  We did have one guy come in the other day at 400 pounds and I refused to move him.  Otherwise I don't have any problems moving patients.  

We, as volunteers, aren't allowed to help lift patients.  We occasionally get some coming into the OR who can't get out of their cars.  They should have called an ambulance but didn't.  So I do have to let the OR people move them.  All I'm allowed to do is push the Staxi behind them so they can sit down.  The OR people have to swing their legs around so they can sit properly in the Staxi.  Are you involved in lifting patients?  I don't have an answer for that.  

The biggest problem is putting a strain on the pacemaker pocket.  That usually doesn't happen with the Staxi chairs because you're usually using both arms and you don't put strain on one side.  Next question for you is if you have high blood pressure.  Pushing the weight does increase the blood pressure and that may be a concern for you.  

I haven't had any problems with the MRI machines.  I regularly walk past the rooms where they are with no problems.  And I just had a CT scan without any problems.  So you really don't have to worry about them.  

If you have an ICD you do have to worry about the cauterizing scalpels.  There is a possibility they can interfere with your ICD.  Are you in an area where you'll be close to that type of scalpel?

Hope this info helps.  

Work restrictions

by yeshua - 2019-05-13 16:15:26

Thanks for responding! I will be getting a Boston Scientific MRI capable pacemaker.Thanks for sharing your experience as a volunteer as well! I was seeking to hear about what others have done in similar situations, as to how the dealt with the first few weeks after they had their pacemaker implanted? Were they given restricted duties for the first  month etc..did they take more time off right after the procedure etc... thanks

Everyone heals differently

by Theknotguy - 2019-05-14 12:45:38

Everyone heals differently.  One person will be up and at 'em as though nothing happened. The other will have problems, sometimes going on for a long time.  It just depends upon how your body heals and no one can tell you that ahead of time.  Because I had CPR before I got my pacemaker with busted ribs and collapsed lung it took me two years to get back to "normal".  But very few people had what I went through. 

Most of the people on the forum seem to be able to get back to "normal" activities within six weeks of the implant.  There is some underlying tissue healing after the surface scar has healed and that goes on for six to nine months.  So if  you are lifting bodies, I'd go on light duty and keep testing how you feel starting at three months.  

I tossed the ball a little too hard six weeks out and pulled some underlying tissue.  Took me another six weeks to get over the soreness.  Went back to working at a charity wood shop at nine months.  Would feel OK during the day but the next day it would feel like my pacemaker was wrapped in sand paper.  Then I'd spend the next four days popping aspirin and using hot and cold packs.  But, like I said, at lot of those problems were due to being beat up by the guys doing CPR.  

Based upon you doing intermittent lifting and stretching work, I don't think you'll have the same problems I had but ultimately you'll have to be the judge of that.  

Bob Hope used to carry around a golf club.  When it got too heavy to swing he'd take some time off.  It meant he was approaching exhaustion and it was time to stop.  Same for you.  You'll need to listen to what your body tells you and not push it.  For at least the first six weeks the gas tank will be empty and you're running on fumes.  After that you may snap back quickly and go on as normal.  

I'm six years out now.  Can do anything I want.  But I've gotten a lot better at using the guys with weak minds and strong bodies to do the heavy lifting and I look around for the hydraulic lifts before I move something.  

I hope your recovery goes well.

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