Got a pacemaker (Part 2)

(Revised/Updated on August 14, 2020)

Got a pacemaker (Part 2)

March 1, 2013, was the day that they would place the pacemaker.
On that day I was not allowed to eat or drink anything.
They could not tell me exactly, what time this would take place.
It could be in the morning or in the afternoon.
It also depended on if there would be an emergency or not.

Finally late afternoon, it was my turn.
I was very nervous.
But with some drugs, I calmed down.
The whole procedure would take around 2 to 3 hours.
And you would be awake the whole time.
Because they want to know if everything is ok or not.

I got a local anesthesia.
It is not so nice, because you can hear and feel everything.
All the “pushing” and “pulling”

Then after that, recovery again.
You are not allowed to move your arm too much.
Also not too high, and not allowed to carry heavy things.
No strange movements.
Because everything has to settle.
And that takes time.
Somewhere around 5-6 weeks.
You are also not allowed to drive a car your self.
Because of the wound.

They had placed the pacemaker near my left shoulder, on my chest, under the skin.
That was the best spot to place the pacemaker.
On this spot, it is easier for them to find the artery where they can place the wires or leads through, going to the heart.

A small disadvantage for me because I am left-handed.

After a few days, I had to go back to the hospital.
This was to do, what they called, a bike test.
You need to ride a home trainer.
And after a few minutes, they make it harder and harder for you to ride.

They do this, so they can see how the heart is working under stress.
You need to keep a certain speed for a few minutes.
But after 2-3 minutes I had to stop.
It was too hard for me and I was not feeling well.

They had to check “the settings” of the pacemaker and had to adjust them.
Yes, they can do this “wireless”
They will place something that looks like a computer mouse, on the spot where the pacemaker is.
Then with a computer, they can look at the pacemaker’s settings and change them.
They will do the same thing, every time you come back for a checkup.

The check-up will take place every 6 months.
They will check if the pacemaker is working ok, or if there are any “errors” and what the status is of the battery.

Normally the lifespan of the pacemaker battery is 5 to 6 years.
Every checkup they would tell me, how many years minimum is left on the battery.
When it is reaching 2 years, then you need to come back every 3 month’s
Then when it reaches 1 year, then they will start planning for the replacement of the pacemaker.

So far everything worked fine for me.
The pacemaker kept doing his thing and at the last check, somewhere in August 2018, the battery was still good for a minimum of 3 years.

But in August – September 2018 during a routine ECHO of the heart, they discovered something that is not good.
More about this in another posts.

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