December 2022

December
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

December 2022

It’s December. To be exact, it is December 2022.

As you maybe know from reading my blog, the month of December had passed by several times, since the start of this blog site. The month of December and I have something. Good but I think, most of the time, not so good. Right now, I am not sure what to think. Okay, it is not the end of the month yet, but things are already going on.

My First Post Idea For December.

At the beginning of the month, I had an idea for a post I wanted to write. Just a thought. I did not put anything in writing yet. I wanted to call it “Hi, How Are You? I Am Fine, Thank You“.

Let me try to explain it. It was something I was struggling with a little.

It is a normal reactie or reply. When people ask you “How are you” that you will respond with “I am fine, thank you”. Or maybe “I am good”.

But after my long stay in the hospital, after or during my recovery, I had some kind of seminar in the hospital. It was about how things would be after your pacemaker implant. What things you could expect and how the people around you could react towards you.

One of the things that stuck with me, was how to react to the question “How are you?”

The advice they gave was, just to say how you really feel. If you feel bad, say it. Don’t automatically say that you are fine. Because you are not. Say that it could be better. When you are asked this question at a medical check to see if you are able again to go back to work, especially if you say that you are good, they would plan for you to get back to work again as soon as possible. But in reality, you and your body are not ready for it yet.

Feeling Bad About It.

That is why, depending on how I feel that day, I will really say if I feel good or not.

At the beginning of the month, there was a special occasion that we had joined. So many that knew me were there. At that time, I was not feeling that great. In the past weeks, I felt tired very quickly. Just walking the stairs up and down, and I needed a rest. Or just a short walk and I felt tired. At one point, I also noticed that just drying myself after the show I was weary.

When they asked me “How are you?” I would say “Could be better”. I know that it is out of interest that the next thing would be “O, why? What is wrong?”. Then I have to tell everything about myself and how I am feeling. I know, they all meant well, but at a certain part, I started to feel bad about it. I got the feeling that I was trying to get attention.

I know from that seminar, that I should not feel guilty about things like that. But I felt bad anyway. It did not feel right inside. I know, this is my life. This is how things are. I need to learn to live with it. It is still a process. No matter how long ago this all started, you are still learning.

The Pacemaker Checkup and What Followed.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I had my regular pacemaker checkup a few months ago. In there they saw that my skipped heartbeats had gone up a lot. To just over 600 skipped beats per hour. To get it under control a little and to get the skipped beats down, they adjusted the medication. One medication was doubled in dosage. After 3-4 months I had the checkup again. The skipped beats had gone down to around 450-460 skipped beats per hour. At that time I already informed them about my tiredness. The one who was checking the pacemaker said that they will discuss this with the specialist.

For four weeks I did not hear anything, so I assumed that it was okay, for now.

Until suddenly this week I got a call. They wanted to change a setting in my pacemaker. It would be something quick. Come in, change the setting and go.

As with almost everything else with me in the month of December, this was not the case.

When they changed the setting, he saw some other things in the history and graphics. According to him, this also was a small reason why there could be skipped heartbeats. But, to correct it, was not easy. They checked several settings and discussed them with a co-worker. To get some advice, he called the company of my pacemaker.

Some Pain

Together they went through several settings, to see what maybe could be changed. Every time he changed a setting, he did a very short test, to see how I would react to it. The first test was okay. I only felt a little bit dizzy or light-headed for one or two seconds. After that one more test and again a little bit dizzy or light-headed.

Then came the worst part. They changed to another setting and did a very short test. This time I was not light-headed or dizzy, but I got pain in my chest. Like someone was busy sticking needles in or behind my heart. As soon as he saw that I made a strange face, because of that pain, he stopped the test. So, this setting was no option. Another test was done with a different setting, but I did not feel anything.

Then they wanted to do one more change in the setting and a very short test. But he already told me that it would feel almost the same as the last test when I felt the pain. I was not too happy about this but it was needed to see what a possible effect it could have. And again I felt the needles behind my heart. When he saw my face, immediately he stopped the test.

In the end, it was decided to go back to the settings in the beginning and talk to the heart specialist about all of this.

One More Time To Change One More Setting

The options they had left now were, or there needed to be a “software” update. Or maybe a change of a different pacemaker of a different make. In this last case, they also would need to place one more wire, or maybe change the placement of the other wires.

According to the maker of my current pacemaker, this was the second time in 15 years that he saw this problem. So my situation is not that common. But it was good to hear that they were thinking seriously about it.

Instead of being there for maybe 10-15minutes, it was a little bit more than 1 hour.

The feeling I had with all of this was good. They were taking it seriously. For me, that is worth the hour they had to spend on me.

I did not expect any more phone calls in the near future, because, between the last checkup and these changes, it was already a few weeks. But to my surprise, I already got a phone call the same afternoon. The decision was made, to change one more setting. The pacemaker has one sensor that can detect when you are busy, doing some exercise. I mean, it can detect when the heart needs to work harder. So it will speed up the pacemaker accordingly. At the moment, this setting was OFF. Now they want to turn it ON. And I have to go back to my previous dosage of the medication that they had raised.

The Next Day

This medication, I am taking it twice a day. So, on the day they had asked me to go back to the previous dosage, for the second take of the medication, I already reduced it. This will not have an immediate effect, because it can take a while.

When I came back the next day, it was someone else who was there to make the change. But he had his doubts if this change would have any effect. After discussing this with his co-worker he made the change. The effect of this will only be known when I will come back for another pacemaker checkup. Until then, I need to use the new (old) dosage of that one medication and keep an eye on things for myself. Like, how I feel and if it feels not good, when this happens, or in what conditions.

The reason for all these changes of settings is and was to see if they could reduce the skipped heartbeats.

Closing.

These past few days gave me the feeling again that this was a typical thing for me for the month of December. Hospital visits and some uncertain things. (In regards to my heart/health)

It also remembered me about the period after the pacemaker was changed. During the recovery therapy, they also had problems getting the pacemaker to work right. And now again. All the discussions with different people. Also with the pacemaker supplier. And now again. Am I that difficult? I mean healthwise. Am I that “unique”? Am I that different? As one person mentioned, this was the second time in 15 years they encountered this medical situation.

What can I do about it? Not much. I can share my thoughts with them and maybe reactie to the things that I hear and/or relay them. But I myself cannot do much. Right now, I can only monitor myself and keep an eye on things. And if it really feels bad or wrong, contact the hospital.

And in regards to the feelings I have at the beginning of this post, I need to learn to accept them and learn to live with them. It is my life. It is my feelings. Learning to accept these things is not easy. Especially if you feel guilty about it.

For me, all I can do right now is pray. Asking for peace of mind. Peace in my heart. And guidance and wisdom for the doctors around me. That they will find the right way to treat me. And find the right solution for my situation.

I would like to end this post with the words, please take care and be safe. God Bless.

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