Thursday, August 24, 2017

Me and My Pacemaker

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am happy to say that my new pacemaker and I are getting along splendidly. Well, except for the itching, and the ache in my armpit, and the inability to shower since I can't get the area wet for a couple more days, and the inability to drive until I see the doctor a week from tomorrow, and the fact that I'm not bursting with energy as I expected. Hmmm, methinks maybe there is a problem with my new relationship. Actually everything is going fine and on track for full recovery. I am now a full fledged, card carrying member of the pacemaker club.

I had the surgery on Monday, August 14, and I have to give kudos to the staff and doctors at Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, TN.  Everyone was so nice and professional. I'm afraid I was my normal goofy self but I was told that I was a very enjoyable patient because I laughed so much. I was under the impression that this was a relatively simple procedure, though serious. I had expected an 1-1/2 to 2 hours in the OR and to not be fully asleep. However, the surgery took closer to 4 hours, and I was fully anesthetized. I have had 3 knee surgery, 2 rotator cuff surgeries and had my gall bladder removed, but I've never been aware of being put to sleep. I've usually been given something to relax me toward sleepiness and only remember the operating room twice.

This time I was fully awake and aware when the nurses took me in. In fact, we had a race to see how fast they could get there. Apparently there is a small rise leading to the OR and they have to move quickly to get up it, especially with this large body of womanhood (or as I told the nurse helping me to get ready, I'm a big mamajama!). It looked like we were going to run straight into the wall ahead of us and I said, in rather a surprised voice, "You're going to hit the wall!" No fear, those girls had good brakes. So I went into the OR giggling about fast drivers and walls. The anesthesiologist wanted to know what was so funny so I told him. I had all of them laughing by the time I was done. Another thing I've never experienced is the mask that is put over your face when you are being put to sleep. Again, I've always been pretty much asleep before that. So when he started toward me with the mask, I asked what he was doing. He explained that it was how I would be put to sleep and then asked if I was bothered by things on my face. I told him I use a C-Pap at night so I had no problem. 3 deep breaths and I was out.

When I woke up, my left arm was in a sling, my throat was sore, and I had a new incision covered with strips of tape, and I was hurting. That was soon dealt with and I went back to sleep for a bit. Next time I was full aware, I was in a room and all my family was gathered round. Well, except for my son, he had waved at me when I was on my way to recovery and told me he was heading home. I waved back and croaked out for him to be careful.  My daughter headed home soon after I got into the room and she knew I was okay. Again the nurses on the floor were wonderful and I never needed for anything. They were right there each time. They kept a careful check on me all night. I got to come home the next day almost exactly 24 hours after I had checked in. Oh yes, the sling was removed Tuesday morning and my throat was much better. I had very little pain and what I had was easily controlled with pain meds.

So 10 days out and I'm doing fine. I'm noticing some pain in my left shoulder but I think it's a combination of things. I have RA also (which might be a factor in my heart block) and the shoulder joint on my left side is very bad, to the point of needing a shoulder replacement. I've been putting it off for almost 9 years now because the orthopedist said I would know when I was ready and he didn't want to rush it. So I think the stress of the surgery, the stress to my body in that area, and the shoulder thing are combining to cause the pain. I've noticed it more so when I've been using my arms. I was told not to raise my arm above my head until I see him again. Most likely, it is, as my daughter said, that I'm protecting my left side subconsciously and stressing the muscles. I don't have any pain at the incision site and haven't had any pain medication for over a week. I guess I am a "tough ole bird".

Take care, my bloggy friends. As always, thank you for stopping by.



  1. Sharon, I have been thinking about you and praying for you and your surgery. There is an online group at "" online that is only for people who have pacemakers. It was an invaluable help to me, especially in the first months after getting my PM. It is people going through exactly what you did and basically letting you know that you're not alone. They can answer questions that the doctor can't because they have actually experienced it for themselves.
    I'm so glad you are having a relatively easy recovery. I'm sure your wonderful sense of humor is very helpful with that. I ended up in the hospital for four days when it was just supposed to be outpatient, but that's normal for me. My husband has learned to never expect medical things to go as planned for me. Ha!
    I'll keep right on praying for you and I'm so glad to hear from you today.

  2. Dear Sharon, I'm so glad to know that the pacemaker surgery went well and you are feeling good. I pray that you will have continued health and healing. Abundant blessings, Tammy

  3. Wow what an 'adventure' glad you are home and on the mend (despite the tetchy shoulder and aches) definitely get them sorted. Keep getting stronger and keep on keeping everyone in fits of giggles, laughing is good for you!

  4. Great news that you are making an excellent recovery. I am so happy you had family around who loves and care for you while this was going on. Bless your heart, literally! Take good care of yourself my friend.