Dear Friends,

I'm 86 and in reasonably good health except that I have an irregular, slow heart-beat that has caused my doctor to recommend a pace-maker.

The problem that I have with the idea is that at my age I have to reconcile myself to death and the cause of it that I prefer. I would prefer something quick like a heart-attack rather than a slow deteriorization seated in a wheel-chair, gradually losing my ability to think clearly and with someone having to clean me up after defecating..

With that in mind I was thinking of the possibility of having a pace-maker implanted and, when I started having too many problems, simply removing the pace-maker for use in someone else and letting nature take its course.

Any ideas?

Regards to all,

Jack Owens



by jessie - 2007-12-08 01:12:00

if you are healthy otherwise go for it jack. smitty is right 86 is the new 66. you will be surprized how young you feel. so please reconsider. we could use some help on this site. take care sir jessie

Go For It!

by auntiesamm - 2007-12-08 03:12:37

Hi Jack,

Smitty is absolutely right, as he always its. I've learned that he is the one to go to, and listen to when these issues come up. The Lord has bless this group of people with him, his wisdom and the ability to convey it to all of us.

You will be amazed at how much better you will feel as the others have stated. You still have a lot of living to do. How does your family feel about the pacemaker and your thoughts?

My prayers are being lifted up for you right now, that you make the right decision and have peace with it whatever you decide. God bless you.


go out swinging

by papaknight - 2007-12-08 06:12:44

Take it from someone who has "died""crossed over' or whatever you want to call it. I do not fear death but I do revere life. I have a pacemaker and have had one fail when needed most, but I still have an ICD/pacemaker. If you choose to let nature take its course you are denying not only yourself of life but your loved ones as well. Listen to teh folks that take the time to replu to your comments and questions on this great site. We've all been through what you are going through to some extent. Treasure every moment you have and share them with everyone. I hope things get better for you soon.


by SusanBrookhouse - 2007-12-08 08:12:12

I have read you story on here and tears came down my face. I was a nurse until I had my heart attack and I now have a pacemaker and have done since 1986. I would not have been here without one.
I can understand how you feel, but honestly you will feel better after your implant. Please dont give up. Doctors would not even think about doing surgery if they thought that you were ready for the next world.
Thinking of you

Go For It- Get the PACEMAKER

by peter - 2007-12-08 08:12:15

Are you crazy? Go for the pacemaker pronto. The oldest man here in the UK who had a pacemaker fitted for the same heart condition as you- bradycardia - was aged 108 and lived another 4 years to 112 !!! He became the oldest man in the UK. You are only a youngster in comparison. Having a pacemaker fitted for your condition is old hat.You dont even need to be brave. Go for it and transform your life. I could not get into hospital quick enough if I was you. Best wishes Peter

come on, Jack Owens

by VIOLIN - 2007-12-08 10:12:06

Come on, Jack. eighty-six is the new 66! Your comments are coming from the fact that you feel lousy, tired and sick with this stinking heart rate. let your doctors "fix you up" and give you the best of the years the good Lord has for you I think you will be surprized at how much better you will feel.

look at all of us!

Good luck and i hope you decide to go forth.


Get A Pacemaker

by SMITTY - 2007-12-08 10:12:10

Hello Jack,

Based on what you tell us about your current health, my guess you are much more likely to experience the very type death you do not want without a pacemaker. Your heart function will continue to deteriorate which means your entire body will not be receiving the life giving blood flow necessary to keep you going at full speed, what ever that may be.

Think about it now, without enough blood being pumped because of a slow heart beat, your brain gets less oxygen rich blood than it must have to function properly. Without enough blood being pumped your kidneys get less oxygen rich blood than they must have to function properly. Without enough blood being pumped your liver get less oxygen rich blood than it must have to function properly. I'm sure you get the picture, so in my opinion not getting a pacemaker does more to ensure you have a slow undesirable death than having a PM will.

I know there are many cases where people are pacemaker dependent and are alive simply because they have a pacemaker that is providing the electrical impulses needed to make their heart beat because that part of there hear no longer functions. However, a pacemaker for most of us is simply a device that assists our heart and is given us a better quality of life. I have had a PM since 2000, but without it I'm sure I would still be alive. Miserable, but still alive. As it is I'm on the down side of 78 and while there are many things in my life that no more than memories, I can still remember them and I expect to die one day way into the future by a sudden shutdown of some vital organ. I do not expect a slow death mainly because my PM keeps enough blood flowing to keep vital body parts functioning.

In fact it was not many days ago that I had a whole battery of tests, and my doctor was quite impressed by how normal all of my blood work was and how normal my kidney, liver and lung functions were, Except for having a heart that apparently has a mind of its own I'm in pretty shape. My only complaint is short of breath and that is strictly because of my heart function and believe me I would not want to see how poor it would be functioning if I did not have my pacemaker to give it a kick in the rear and make it speed up sometimes.

I usually make suggestions and not give advice, but in your case I'm going to give advice. Get that pacemaker. Like I said, it is not likely to keep you alive, but it can sure make you feel better while you are alive.

As for get getting one and then having it removed some time later for use by someone else, you can forget that idea. No doctor would ever remove a PM if they thought it would hasten the patient’s death, and anyway a PM cannot be reused by another human, at least not in the USA. The do put used ones in animals, but not humans.

Good luck,


pacer or not?

by Peter.Nash - 2007-12-09 04:12:23

Hi Jack,
two years ago at the age off 66 I was told I had a heart of a man of 86 so I sort of lost twenty years overnight....... I have a ICD and without it I would not be here now ....... go for it my friend with anyluck /i might catch up and make it to 106.. Peter N.


by jackowens - 2007-12-09 05:12:49

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your imput but I think there may be a misunderstanding: all of you seem to be talking about living; I'm talking about dying.

I know that that is not a very cheerful, positive --in the ordinary sense of the word-- topic, but, let's face it, dying is inevitable. So for those who find dying too depressing to discuss, please drop out. Those who are realists enough to hang in there on the topic, please give me your thoughts.

What I was getting at in my original post is:

1. We *have* to die.

2. How do we want to do it --what are the possible options?.

First, we're not talking about a pace-maker for a 40- 50- 60-year-old. That woulld be a different case. But at 86, according to actuarial tables I've seen, I have approximately 5 more years left. The question is, how do I want to spend them? Independently and able to take care of myself? Yes, of course. Debilitated and needing some one to care for me? No.

Leaving aside suicide, then, I think a heart-attack might be fastest and best way to go, but if I understand the purpose of a pace-maker, it is to prevent a heart-attack, the heart simply giving out. What options does that leave us with? How do those with pace-makers usually die? Of what, in what physical condition and with what physical debilities?

Regards to all,

Jack Owens


by SMITTY - 2007-12-10 01:12:16


There is not much I can add to Cathryn's comments. Like she said a pacemaker does not prevent heart attacks. Defibrillators do prevent the heart from shutting down, but not the pacemaker you are talking about getting.

If I understand you correctly you think you are ready to die, for whatever reason. In that case I'll agree that a pacemaker is probably not something you want. While it will not prevent a heart attack it can help your heart do what it has been doing for 86 years. I do think that without the pacemaker you are much more likely to die or experience a life style of the very kind you say you do not want.

Without a pacemaker helping your heart keep your body supplied with an adequate amount of life giving blood your body will slowly die, but not necessarily uniformly.

I'm guessing, or I should say I’m using these organs as an example, because I certainly do not know which one will suffer the most or give out first without enough blood flow. I do know the stomach requires a lot of blood to digest the food we consume. You may have noticed how you may get short of breath, or that you need to reduce your physical activity right after eating. That is becasue the heart cannot pump enough blood to supply all of the bodly needs. To reduce the tiem undigested food is in the stomach our body is geared to supply the stomach muscles with an extra supply of blood when we eat, at the expense of other organs if necessary. Then there are the kidneys, which have a hefty blood requirement. The list goes on and on and last but certainly not least, the brain has a big oxygen requirement which it gets from the blood supplied by the heart.

I’ve said enough on this. I will say that if you came to this site looking for agreement that you should not let your doctor do what he thinks will give you a better quality of life; you have come to the wrong place. At least 999 out of 1,000 of us have gone the extra mile to stay alive and continue to enjoy what God has given us.

Since I’m very much a live and let live person, I agree that you should do what you think is best for you, even though I know you are wrong about what the pacemaker will and will not do for you.

Good luck,


bless you -

by PreciousDays - 2007-12-10 09:12:11

Jack - at 46 I asked myself many of the same questions that you are asking yourself now - Do I want to survive the risk of sudden cardiac death - only to die from heart failure?. (Actually my answer was - no- but the symptoms from the heart failure became severe enough for me to realize that hanging around to wait for sudden cardiac death might be a long and really uncomfortable wait.) I for one find it comforting to know that others are thinking those about the same things I questioned . I respect you for having the strength to share your struggle with stangers - I only inflicted my conflict on those I love best. :-) -

The reality is - they won't take the pacer out of you to use in someone else -though they may take it out to use in a lab animal (this is what my electropysiologist told me at least.....) and - by the time you are sick enough to want to be rid of it - you will be too sick for a doctor to risk an increase in his or her malpractice insurance by putting you under the knife - soooooo - the question then becomes - do you want to trade in what may or may not be a sudden death - for what may or may not be a prolonged and less comfortable one? - No matter which choice you make - you could end up getting hit by a truck in the end and your decision wouldn't make a difference any way. We can only make our choices based on what we know - and we never know everything about anything. - Given the insightfulness of your question - your mind and emotional heart are strong -How would you use the 'extra time'? Would it give you an increase in quality time, or merely in quantiity of time - if you had the surgery? what would you regret having done or not done if you found out you were actively dying tomorrow? Does the joy in your life outweigh the mundaneness? Do you want more time on earth? These are the things to ask yourself before you make the decision - however you decide to live whatever is left of your life - I wish you only the best. - PD


by Peter.Nash - 2007-12-10 12:12:44

Jack you are a long while dead.. make the most of life... I for one won't go down without a fight.. thats what we are about on this forum.... and thats what I have learn't from all these wonderful people who are all in the same boat to one degree or another.. we all have our doubts as to what the future holds but the best plan is to take it day. .. as there is no future in the past the same holds for time ahead it is best not to know... today is the time that matters and what you do with it it what counts...
Believe me I know what you are talking about but that is another story...... onwards and upwards life can be a bitch but it is still worth the juice.
Peter. N.

You know you're wired when...

Muggers want your ICD, not your wallet.

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.