Coping with new pacemaker

Hi. I had my PM installed on Thursday because I had my heart stop a few times in the last week. The stops recorded in the hospital lasted for 26 and 30 seconds but I know that at home I had some episodes that were even longer. I had an emergency PM installed and then sent home. All my episodes of heart stopping occured  in my sleep or when about to sleep. I am now frightened to go to sleep. Does anyone have any advice on how to get over this fear? Has anyone else had heart stoppages this long.? I feel just so rushed and blindsided by the whole experience and now at home without much info as to what to expect. Any help from people in similar circumstances will be much appreciated. 


Mine were during the day

by Theknotguy - 2020-08-02 21:47:59

Welcome to the club you didn't want to join.  

I was out on the hiking trail with the dogs when my heart stopped.  Woke up in the hospital six days later.  Pacemaker was already implanted. Surprise! After that, it was deal with the situation.  

I ended up talking with a psychologist who dealt in trauma and heart issues.  (Yes, there are people out there like that.)  She helped a lot.  

If nothing else I would encourage you to talk with a disinterested third party.  If it isn't a psych person, then someone who deals with medical problems.

In the meantime, just concentrate on getting through the day.  Take one day at a time.  

You no longer have to worry about your heart stopping and that's a big thing.  And I hope you adjust well to your new life with your pacemaker.  



by AgentX86 - 2020-08-02 23:13:00

We're all different in how we deal with life-changing issues, such as a pacemaker.  NotGuy has some really good advice.  Your real problem is over.  You survived a very serious and life threatening problem (I was scared at 8-second asystoles)  and pacemaker has fixed what's wrong with you, permanently. 

Now you have to wrap your head around both the problem and the fact that the solution has as close to a 100% success rate as anything in the world of medicine.  If you're going to have a potentially fatal health problem, this is the one to have.

It's not unusual to need help coping for a while.  Don't let these feelings fester, they may get worse.  Remember, the physical problem is behind you.  The mental issue may take a while.  Don't hesitate to reach out for help.  Absolutely no one is going to think less of you for needing a little help.  That said, I'd be very careful with any drugs.  There are better, far safer, solutions.

very normal

by dwelch - 2020-08-07 01:47:08

These feelings are very normal.  I will say that I knew several years before I actually got device number one. (on number five) 

Just keep remembering that the device makes you better.  Any real fear you should have been feeling was before the device, after the device those fears can now pass you dont have anything to worry about.  Before yes, after no.

And I fully understand that those statements wont work on you immediately if ever, each of us have our own coping mechanisms.  Along with this surprise of waking up in the hospital with a device, you have many weeks to a few months of physical recovery.  Suprise device or not it can take many more months after that to cope with the change, be it all the things you think you cant do because of the negative stigma about pacemakers (by the uninformed and ignorant), or because you are coping with the new settings I spent 19 years sleeping with rates in the 30s then being forced into the 60s.  I felt/heard every heart beat, didnt need to put a finger on my wrist or neck to take my pulse, just look at a clock it was just part of me, that all went away with the device, was empty and lonely and took a good part of that first year.  constantly taking my pulse to see if I my heart was working.  I didnt fear going to bed but dreaded it because I couldnt sleep and had been a really good sleeper before.

Just like there is no shame nor other negatives to having a pacemaker there is no shame or other negatives to talking to a professional about this.  That is what they do for a living, they have more coping mechanisms you can try than the folks on this site can come up with in these comments.  What works for me or any other member is not what works for everyone.  They can help you find what works for you.  If this is an option you dont want to try that is fine too. 

The bottom line is a combination of trust, trust the doc, trust the device.  Distraction, finding ways to not focus on the fears.  Turning the negative energy into positive, taking the energy you are burning on fear and turn it into exercise or entertainment or helping others, etc.  Dont misread this site, for every one of the "my pacer has a problem" questions you see here, there are tens of thousands if not more folks that have no problems.  Just like negative reviews on Amazon, folks that are upset will post stuff, folks that have had no issues whatsoever dont feel the need to take the time to post a "I have no problems, everything is working great" question/comment.

The physical will pass shortly, part of being in the club.  The mental will take longer, but you will reach a point that you forget you have this thing.  It is like a belly button or big toe and you know you have it deep down but you dont think about it until you stub it on a table leg, but then shortly after you forget again.   You WILL get to that comfort level, I am confident, we dont all run around posting how happy and comfortable we are about our devices, but sooo many of us are.  And all of those started the journey with the physical, some of those started with the mental, but we ended up at the same place mentally and physically.


by OHN - 2020-09-01 18:05:02

Three excellent comments!

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