Tag Archives: pacemaker

My poor “broken” heart

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, I haven’t felt up to writing about it but I think I’ll try now.

In my post Salt, Socks and Heartbeats  I told you all about the heart conditions I had been diagnosed with, and that I would need to have a pacemaker placed. Well fast forward a couple of months, pacemaker is in and working fine, but here I am writing yet another post about my “broken” heart.

I was in the emergency room twice last week, both for heart issues. The first time was kind of crazy, I laughed about it because it was like straight out of the movies. My heart rate was very high so I drove myself to the ER and walked in, told the woman at the desk that something was wrong with my heart and was immediately plopped in a wheelchair, rushed to a bed, hooked up to an EKG machine….the next thing I knew there was a doctor and 5 nurses running into the room. The doctor stopped short, took one look at me talking to the tech and said “you’re STABLE?!”…”uh, last time I checked?”…

So they rushed me to a private room, and started hooking me up to all kinds of monitors. They had called a “code” like on tv, because every nurse in the ER was in my room running around like I was dying! They hooked me up to the crash cart! (That thing that they use on tv that they yell “clear!” and it shocks you).

Long story short, they had to give me adenosine, a medication that temporarily causes ventricular asystole (an episode of no cardiac activity) and is used to reset the heart and pull it out of dangerous arrhythmias. In normal person words, they stopped my heart temporarily and lucky for me when it restarted it decided to behave itself and beat like it’s supposed to.

A check of my pacemaker showed that my heart rate had been an average of 223, with a maximum of 273, for an hour. That is NOT good for your heart.

The ER doctor was very nice, and did not make me spend the night in the hospital on the condition that I see my cardiologist the next day. At my appointment my cardiologist said that I was not on nearly enough beta blocker (medication to lower your blood pressure, but also lowers heart rate and can help prevent arrhythmias), so he doubled my dose.

Fast forward 24 hours and I’m back in the ER. This time it was an average of 242, with a maximum of 273, for half an hour. My poor poor little heart. :[

Again, back to my cardiologist I go…this time I insist that the beta blocker (obviously!) isn’t working so we switch to another one, that is a much higher dose and I take it twice a day instead of just once.

The good news is I have managed to make it 6 nights so far without a trip to the ER (isn’t sad that I’m counting?).

The bad news is my heart is still acting up…it’s doing some sort of strange arrhythmia thing as I write this, which isn’t ER worthy, but doesn’t feel good. My poor cat is sleeping on my chest and keeps jumping because she feels my heart do something strange.

My gut feeling is generally right…and it says I am headed for at least one more surgery, maybe more. That’s a lovely thought. And no, I’m not being dramatic, depressed, or whatever other way you want to minimize what I’m feeling. I’m a realist, and I’ve been sick long enough to know my body and when something is really really wrong; and this is bad. 

I hate this. I hate that every time my heart does something weird (which is ALL the time) I panic, “are we running to the ER again?” “is it going to stop?” “what if this time something really bad happens?”.

Tonight I am sad that I feel like any minute now my body will turn on me again.

I’m angry that I underwent a (really terrible) surgery that was supposed to fix things, and it didn’t. Now I may be looking at another (probably terrible) surgery that may or may not actually fix it this time.  I’m angry that my primary care doctor basically “called” this 2 weeks after my pacemaker surgery, when she questioned the cardiologist’s decision on which device to give me…if she was right all along I am going to be furious.

I’m overwhelmed with all that needs to be done now, I am going to get a second opinion from a different kind of doctor who specializes in electrical disorders of the heart (probably where I should have been going all along), but that means tons of paperwork, going over my entire medical history, and the stress of wondering whether or not he will freak out over my lyme diagnosis and antibiotic list.

I’m scared that it could happen again at any moment. I’m scared that I know that having heart rates that high is damaging to your heart, so what kind of damage has already been done? And how much more damage has to be done before we can figure this out and stop it?

This sucks.

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