Which Messages from the Heart are You Receiving?
Messages from the heart arrive in many forms. Historically, as far back as I can remember my discussions with a doctor, I have had a low pulse rate (in the 50s), but doctors have said that this condition was true of some percentage of the population. They weren’t too concerned. I was even turned down for life insurance in my 20s, but the decision was later reversed, and I was allowed to purchase the needed level of coverage. That was about 50 years ago. However, during the last couple of months I started having episodes where I thought I was going to “pass out.”
On Saturday, April 31, 2016, I had several episodes of dizziness, and along about 8:00 pm my wife insisted on calling 911. On the way to the hospital the ambulance crew monitored several episodes where my pulse dropped to around 30 and would then shoot up very high. Upon admission to the hospital an MRI and other scans were performed. Doctors immediately said that I needed a Pacemaker.
I was admitted to the hospital as an in-patient and various preparations were started. I was already on blood thinners, but another thinner was substituted – one that would flush out of my system very quickly. Since this was on the weekend, I had to wait until Monday for installation of the Pacemaker. Many blood samples were taken, and vital signs monitored throughout Sunday and Sunday night. The Pacemaker was installed Monday evening, late, about 3:30 pm. Only light anesthesia was given, and I recovered quickly from it. Only a couple of Tylenol tablets, 2 times, were needed for the very small amount of pain. I was discharged with instructions to restart all my previous medications. I was also provided a monitoring station developed by St. Jude Medical, as was the Pacemaker. The station monitors the Pacemaker data, whenever I am within about 15-20 feet of it, and transmits it to the hospital (Heart Center) automatically by landline. I am then notified when I need to make an office visit.
I returned home on Tuesday around 11:00 am. I have had no more episodes, my rate is set at a minimum of 60, and the Pacemaker monitoring system is performing its functions. The data is automatically transmitted to the hospital, and they will notify of any monitored problems. So, I will benefit from close observation. My movements are restricted for the first 6 weeks until the site heals, and heart electrodes are “anchored.” After that my activities will be pretty normal other than avoiding magnetic fields and heavy lifting.
My heart had been sending me messages for a very long time, but I did not take heed. I did not often admit to having issues, especially to my wife, because I knew she would become more concerned about me seeking medical attention. She got me to go this time “just in time” I believe. The issues had shown themselves over a long period of time during my walking activities and through early fatigue while performing other tasks. We should all listen to the messages of our heart as well as other organs. The cure may well be much less painful than the ignored condition.