Protimenow Update

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Protimenow

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Thanks Sheena.

The decision was quite sudden, and there was no time for second thoughts about it, but I'm glad that it's done.

I stayed home most of Sunday, other than the Uber trips to and from the pharmacy for Keflex.

It's a nice change to be able to hear my valve ticking fairly steadily, except when my PVCs do their thing to the rhythm.

I expect to continue feeling stronger as time goes on. If the PVCs don't continue to be a big problem, I'll have to consider the second ablation that should stop those arrhythmias.

As far as the weekend goes - having this done, without thinking much about it (I knew that I needed it), may have made my wife worry less than she would have if the thing was scheduled a few days or weeks ahead. Not sitting around with my fingers on my wrist a few times during the weekend, checking to see how low my heart rate would drop, probably also made the weekend better.
 

Protimenow

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Thanks ATHENS1964. Now, if I can only convince my wife that it's okay to use a microwave oven (this is printed in the booklet that came with the pacemaker and the material that the hospital printed), that my bruising on the side where the pacemaker was implanted will continue to grow while the blood moves down my body and because I take warfarin, and that I don't have to rest for 4-6 weeks, I may be able to do things.

The EP who implanted the device told me that I can drive -- my wife was concerned that the shoulder belt, passing from left shoulder to hip - might be a problem. I'll see later, when, against her advice, I get in the car and drive to the EP tomorrow for a follow-up check, and maybe go to the store to pick up a prescription for my wife.

I won't be an invalid because of outdated information.
 

Sheenas7

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Apr 22, 2014
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74
Location
Va, Fairfax County
Thanks ATHENS1964. Now, if I can only convince my wife that it's okay to use a microwave oven (this is printed in the booklet that came with the pacemaker and the material that the hospital printed), that my bruising on the side where the pacemaker was implanted will continue to grow while the blood moves down my body and because I take warfarin, and that I don't have to rest for 4-6 weeks, I may be able to do things.

The EP who implanted the device told me that I can drive -- my wife was concerned that the shoulder belt, passing from left shoulder to hip - might be a problem. I'll see later, when, against her advice, I get in the car and drive to the EP tomorrow for a follow-up check, and maybe go to the store to pick up a prescription for my wife.

I won't be an invalid because of outdated information.
Just one more thing I learned the hard way. Even after you recover from the procedure. Get information on what exercises you cannot/should not do. One comes to mind, pull-ups on a bar. Lifting weights over head and certain other movements due to the wires. I am assuming your pacemaker has wires. I now have wireless because I have had a pacemaker since age 23 and there was no more room in my arteries for new wires. Ask your doctor for an exercise guide. This is very important. I broke the insulation on one of my wires with pull-ups. Thankfully knowledge is power. Best wishes.
 

Protimenow

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Joined
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Messages
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Sheenas7: thanks for the warnings.

Yes, mine is wireless. I was given a Merlin@home device when I had the pacemaker implanted. This is supposed to sit next to the bed, near where I sleep. It interrogates the pacemaker nightly, and sends the data to some central service (or something) for the doctor to review the next day. It'll flag any issues and let the doctor review it.

Good news (finally). I drove to the electrophysiologist's office - it was too late to get Uber, and found that the shoulder belt came nowhere near the pacemaker.(Actually, it goes right over the Pacemaker - but I didn't feel it). I don't plan to use Uber again (unless I REALLY need to). I just saw the electrophysiologist, and he took an EKG and read the information from my pacemaker. He's 'very pleased.' The pacemaker overrode the PVCs that I was having all the time -- I'm not going to need the other (much more dangerous and delicate) ablation.

In many ways, I'm glad that I needed the pacemaker. If I didn't I probably would have had to have the ablation.

I see him the EP in a month - unless some problems come up. I'm not expecting any, I plan to be careful with my left side for a month or so, and maybe go on to a more normal life -- finally. (This relieves some of my stress and certainly helps my wife (who has been stressed with the **** that I've gone through the past three months, more than I've been).
 
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Protimenow

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Location
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A few new things:

On May 30, I got a pacemaker. For most of the last three weeks, my heart rate hasn't dropped below 69. Last week, it was back as low as 50. But, later, it was back around 70. My Fitbit shows a resting heart rate of 72. I thought that my BP meter was just confused by my arrhythmias - but fingers to wrist, when my meter said 51, confirmed the low rate. Maybe one of the wires got loose? Maybe the EP has to crank up the intensity a notch or two? I'll wait to hear from him. BUT - most of the time, the heart rate is 69 or above - I don't quite understand how/if it drops lower. I wouldn't be surprised if my EP doesn't run a holter monitor again.

Another issue -- my damned doctor decided he wants me to go to the 'Coumadin Clinic' - that's where sick Warfarin goes to get treated. I've been testing and managing my INR since 2009. This doctor doesn't care.

I reluctantly made an appointment, talking to a very unpleasant woman. She said that they use an AccuChek for testing INR. (Accuchek? I thought this was for blood sugar). Her records showed that I was taking 7.5 mg. I tried to convince her that I'm now taking 7 mg - a 4, 1/2 of another 4, and a 1. She didn't understand. She couldn't comprehend how a) I wasn't taking the dose that was in my patient chart, or b) how I can be taking 7 mg - I told her again, and she still insisted that I was taking only 4. She wants me to 'bring your warfarin.' I laughed, and she didn't see any humor in it. Apparently they don't believe me.

So, I'll waste my time and gas to go to this damned clinic and will be able to check their results against my two meters. I'll get an idea which meter is a closest match to theirs.

If I couldn't get another test for comparison, I wouldn't bother.

My intense, nearly disabling, dizziness seems to have mostly resolved itself. I think that my body may have finally adjusted to the Verapamil. The dizziness still sometimes gets worse when I'm tired, but it's a lot easier to live with now.

Sheenas7 -- I see that I gave you misinformation in my last posting. The Pacemaker IS wired - wires go from the pacemaker into the appropriate spots in my heart. What's wireless is the monitoring system.

Your advice to take it easy with my left side, and to get some instructions about what I can't do with my left arm would be helpful. On Sunday, Fathers Day, I started pulling some ivy off a wall in my outdoor office. This ivy has been left alone to form a jungle in the last year, because I just didn't have the energy to do anything about it. Without even thinking about it, I moved from the easily removed ivy on the wall to some big clumps of ivy on the ground and behind the pool. It felt good to do it, knowing that I wouldn't get physically exhausted after doing the slightest bit of work. I don't think I did anything major with my left arm - and the slow heartbeat started before this event. But, without some constraints in mind, I may wind up doing some things that probably shouldn't be done -- with a pacemaker, or with one that's healing.

One more thing about pacemakers -- my incision was closed with Superglue. The incision is smooth. For others here who have pacemakers, how was YOUR last (if you have more than one) incision closed?
 
Last edited:

Sheenas7

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Joined
Apr 22, 2014
Messages
74
Location
Va, Fairfax County
A few new things:

On May 30, I got a pacemaker. For most of the last three weeks, my heart rate hasn't dropped below 69. Last week, it was back as low as 50. But, later, it was back around 70. My Fitbit shows a resting heart rate of 72. I thought that my BP meter was just confused by my arrhythmias - but fingers to wrist, when my meter said 51, confirmed the low rate. Maybe one of the wires got loose? Maybe the EP has to crank up the intensity a notch or two? I'll wait to hear from him. BUT - most of the time, the heart rate is 69 or above - I don't quite understand how/if it drops lower. I wouldn't be surprised if my EP doesn't run a holter monitor again.

Another issue -- my damned doctor decided he wants me to go to the 'Coumadin Clinic' - that's where sick Warfarin goes to get treated. I've been testing and managing my INR since 2009. This doctor doesn't care.

I reluctantly made an appointment, talking to a very unpleasant woman. She said that they use an AccuChek for testing INR. (Accuchek? I thought this was for blood sugar). Her records showed that I was taking 7.5 mg. I tried to convince her that I'm now taking 7 mg - a 4, 1/2 of another 4, and a 1. She didn't understand. She couldn't comprehend how a) I wasn't taking the dose that was in my patient chart, or b) how I can be taking 7 mg - I told her again, and she still insisted that I was taking only 4. She wants me to 'bring your warfarin.' I laughed, and she didn't see any humor in it. Apparently they don't believe me.

So, I'll waste my time and gas to go to this damned clinic and will be able to check their results against my two meters. I'll get an idea which meter is a closest match to theirs.

If I couldn't get another test for comparison, I wouldn't bother.

My intense, nearly disabling, dizziness seems to have mostly resolved itself. I think that my body may have finally adjusted to the Verapamil. The dizziness still sometimes gets worse when I'm tired, but it's a lot easier to live with now.

Sheenas7 -- I see that I gave you misinformation in my last posting. The Pacemaker IS wired - wires go from the pacemaker into the appropriate spots in my heart. What's wireless is the monitoring system.

Your advice to take it easy with my left side, and to get some instructions about what I can't do with my left arm would be helpful. On Sunday, Fathers Day, I started pulling some ivy off a wall in my outdoor office. This ivy has been left alone to form a jungle in the last year, because I just didn't have the energy to do anything about it. Without even thinking about it, I moved from the easily removed ivy on the wall to some big clumps of ivy on the ground and behind the pool. It felt good to do it, knowing that I wouldn't get physically exhausted after doing the slightest bit of work. I don't think I did anything major with my left arm - and the slow heartbeat started before this event. But, without some constraints in mind, I may wind up doing some things that probably shouldn't be done -- with a pacemaker, or with one that's healing.

One more thing about pacemakers -- my incision was closed with Superglue. The incision is smooth. For others here who have pacemakers, how was YOUR last (if you have more than one) incision closed?
Yes best to get instructions on what you shouldn’t do with that arm. In my case I learned no push ups. No raising arm overhead and other things but I had broken thru the insulation on my wire and it had to be repaired so I had maybe more limitations imposed. No repetitive arm motions after that. Like breast stroke swimming. So don’t let that happen to you. My last pacemaker implant was in 2017 and it’s wireless. It sits in my ventricle! So my arms are now free and I can do light weights! Best of luck. Take good care.
 

Protimenow

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Location
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I'm pretty sure that mine is wired (like I am, sometimes).

My EP hasn't offered much advice about activities, and I would be somewhat surprised if he provides much guidance.

At this point, I would be surprised by much response from him. I've made three phone calls - none have been answered. I've sent a fax with information and a history of my blood pressure readings -- again, no response.

I'll see him on July 6, mention that I've left messages and gotten no responses and, as much as I like him, I may wind up going to another doctor who is more responsive than this one has been.

(Also - surprisingly, my blood pressure has somehow dropped into the 105/78 range this morning. I don't know whether to celebrate or to worry).
 

Sheenas7

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Joined
Apr 22, 2014
Messages
74
Location
Va, Fairfax County
I'm pretty sure that mine is wired (like I am, sometimes).

My EP hasn't offered much advice about activities, and I would be somewhat surprised if he provides much guidance.

At this point, I would be surprised by much response from him. I've made three phone calls - none have been answered. I've sent a fax with information and a history of my blood pressure readings -- again, no response.

I'll see him on July 6, mention that I've left messages and gotten no responses and, as much as I like him, I may wind up going to another doctor who is more responsive than this one has been.

(Also - surprisingly, my blood pressure has somehow dropped into the 105/78 range this morning. I don't know whether to celebrate or to worry).
Hi again. The office may have a flyer on recommendations living with pacemaker. Not referring to the ones right after surgery while healing, but long term. Another option is look on line for your brand. Mine is Medtronic. They always have a lot of information on line . Good luck.
 

Protimenow

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Messages
3,560
Location
California
Mine is St. Jude (Abbott). Their site is messed up -- even the 'patient' pages link to the information for professionals.

I haven't seen any guidelines from my EP. And, for some reason, he isn't even returning my calls.

Although I don't want to, I may have to look elsewhere to find a more responsive doctor (or an office that actually GIVES HIM my messages.
 

Protimenow

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Another update. I erroneously said in an earlier message that I saw the EP on July 6. Actually, it was June 6. But I wasn't entirely wrong - today is July 6, and I saw him again.

His most impressive words were 'I fixed you.' I know that I hadn't been neutered (the kind of 'fix' that they do for dogs and cats, and other critters, too), so he meant that my cardiac rhythm problems have been resolved. The ablation took care of some, but not all arrhythmias, the pacemaker seemed to take care of my ventricular tachycardia (VT). What I'm left with are bigeminy - and I'll probably have that for the rest of my life.

It's a hell of a lot better than I was in March, with multiple arrhythmias competing with each other to see which can kill me first.

One of the things that was most impressive at the doctor's office was a Merlin device. He looked at it, and told me that I've had no VT, and had a few minor episodes of flutter for a few seconds - and this was over the last five weeks. He printed out summaries of reports received by my Merlin At Home device - I didn't get to read them, but they appeared to have a lot of data, possibly a summary of each day's readings, maybe even more information.

Remote patient monitoring is pretty impressive stuff. I wonder how Boston Scientific's monitoring compares.

Over the past five weeks, I've watched my heart adapt to the new heart rate. The first few days, it seemed to want to stay close to 50, but gradually worked its way up (as reported on my Fitbit). The past few weeks, my Fitbit showed a consistent resting heart rate of 73. 'Works for me...'
 

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