new to pacemaker

Good morning, all.  

Less than a week has gone by from diagnosis to implanting of my pacemaker two days ago.  I'm a 75-year-old woman in (otherwise) good physical condition, an avid walker and hiker.  Now I'm trying to process what's just happened to me and what it all means for my future activities and life style.  I'd appreciate any advice anyone has to share on adapting to life with a pacemaker, what to watch for, how to deal with the emotional rollercoaster I anticipate.  Thanks so much.

Milinda


6 Comments

New

by AgentX86 - 2020-08-22 16:07:12

I'll bet that at 76vyou didn't think you'd be new to too much. ;-) Welcome to the club and I hope that you find your answers.

First, what it means for your future. Pretty much nothing in a couple of months,  after the incision heals completely. Unless, of course, you play contact sports. That's ill advised.

What to look for... In the short term, ber VERY vigilant about your incision. Infections are deadly serious. If you see redness, lines, or puss, or feel heat, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Follow the instructions from your doctors as closely as possible. We all forget the "raising of the hand above the shoulder" rule but try your best.

The mental issues are just that. It doesn't matter how you got here. It really doesn't matter and there's no one to blame. The question is where you want to go next. If you like hiking, do it! You may have to start slowly,  until you get used to your new friend. It may take some adjustments (and there are a hundred) on it to optimize your performance but you'll soon forget that you have it. It'll be like your bellybutton.  You know you have but you don't think about it. Soon you'll feel better than you did before.

Good luck and I hope you stick around.

new to pacemaker

by Milinda - 2020-08-22 16:56:58

Thanks, Agent X86.  Your comments are most reassuring.  I can tell this group will be a great source of help.

Welcome.

by Gotrhythm - 2020-08-22 17:05:41

For most people, little to no "adapting" is required.  Once you are healed up, you can do pretty much anything you could do before. Certainly there will be no limits on walking and hiking.

The vast majority who get a pacemaker, do fine, and never look back. No lifestyle changes neccessary. Once you're healed, 99.95 % of your life will be exactly as it was. Except hopefully, you'll feel better than you have in a long time.

It's likely you will even forget you have it for months at a time.

Mental attitude matters more than anything. Abraham Lincoln, I think, said a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. Never so true as whan talking about living with a pacemaker.

Anytime you have questions, we'll be here.

Hello Milinda

by Gemita - 2020-08-23 07:28:20

How are you getting on with your new friend ?  I got my pacemaker in 2018 (and so did hubby) and we can both say that it has improved our quality of life and I hope it will be the same for you too.

I never really suffered emotionally from needing a pacemaker.  After overcoming the initial hurdles of healing, I found that my heart felt so much steadier, happier, calmer, stronger, regular that I was able to walk around without coming over dizzy, breathless, weak or faint for the first time in several years.  It felt so right, as though the pacemaker was the missing link all along, so how could I possibly reject it.  It is my friend and I am in a much safer place now without the fear of collapsing inside and outside my home.

It felt uncomfortable at first, and still does sometimes.  After all it isnt normal to have a bit of metal (and leads) inside our bodies, but providing we always keep an eye open for any signs of infection, both locally and internally, we can get on with our lives and let the pacemaker work gently in the background.  I am able to do most of my normal activities again without fear and with relative ease.  I wish the same for you.  Don't try to do too much for the first six weeks of healing and follow your hospital guidelines on using your left arm.  Good luck

what to expect

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-23 10:29:47

What to watch for? Once we heal, not much. Stay off scales that calculate BMI, don't ARC weld, don't tour power plants. That's truly about it. I've been paced 26 years and there's nothing I want to do that I cannot. 

Avoiding the rollercoasters, the best weapon against that is a positive attitude. It may sound simplistic and trite, but it makes a huge difference in how we heal and how we move on. Two things that helped me adapt were learning all I could about my pacer and condition, I can accept what I can understand. And being active again. Endorphins are a great anti-depressant and the more I could be active and feel good, the easier it was to trust the pacer to do its job. Most of us quickly reach a point where we don't give it a thought. 

Lifestyle changes. I'm a little different, my condition is congenital so I had a lifetime of restrictions before I was paced. After, I was suddenly able to try all the things I'd only been a spectator for before. The day I was given the all-clear, I joined a gym, bought roller blades and a tennis racket. I haven't really slowed down since. I hike or ski most vacations, have done a handful of mud runs and half marathons, do Crossfit, kayak every chance I get. No one looks at me and sees a heart patient. If you did it before, you can do it again once you heal. Or maybe like me, you'll suddenly be able to do some things you couldn't do before. 

New to Pacemaker

by Garfish - 2020-08-24 09:28:26

Hello, Milinda!   like you, things happened quickly with me.  I had a Doctors appt on the 17th of August and a pacemaker implanted on the 21st of August.  Today is my third day postop.  I really didnt have any time to think it all over, just bang, come Wednesday for preop testing and show up Friday for implantation.  I don't know what the future holds but I certainly hope my results are as good as most of the commenters.  My pain isn't bad and if I didnt have a pressure bandage it would help.  They had to manually hold pressue for 30 minutes to stop the bleeding.  So I have a big lump of a bandage with tape pulling everwhere when I move.  I can say this, my appreciation of my wife has grown considerably.  She has done an excellent job helping me  which can't  be easy for her  as we are both 77.  I guess we all just need to have a positive mental outlook  and for those of us who are Christians just Trust in the Lord also.  He has taken care of me for years.

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