Why I Love the Pacemaker

I was looking for free open stock images this morning, and fell in love with a small collection of photos by Nic at Little Visuals.  This site greets you with a message from the photographers family asking for donations to the Hand on Heart Charity in the United Kingdom, whose mission is to place defibrillators in schools.  Nic Jackson died of something called S.A.D.S., Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.   In the United States we know S.A.D.S. better as Sudden Cardiac Death.  The heart goes into arrhythmia, stops pumping blood, and the person can die.  This is an electrical problem of the heart.  It is not a heart attack.  The heart just stops pumping blood.

The first person I knew with the condition was a young father who died suddenly at the age of 34.  He was a fit, active adult, as were we.  His death was a shock to all, as are the deaths of young athletes and other healthy people of all ages that this condition afflicts.

Dizziness is one of the primary symptoms, you may or may not notice a rapid heart beat, and the heart stops.

A few years ago I realized something was wrong with Hubby.  He was lacking in energy, He had no interest in doing anything.  He just wanted to sit in the evening with his favorite drink, a dirty martini, and munch on his olives in peace.  I was distraught.  I sent Hubby to doctors, who listened to his heart, checked him out, asked about his drinking and thinking he might be depressed, sent him home with a prescription.  A the choice between his martini and his medication caused him to stop the medication.   Hubby didn’t think depression was his problem anyway.

Things did not improve at home.  Hubby passed out one night, while I was taking care of my parents and not at home, cleaned up the blood and went back to bed.  In the morning he got 9 stitches.  A stress test showed nothing wrong.  A few months later, alone again hubby passed out in a doorway, leaving his body badly bruised.  This time the Doctor did a Cat Scan of his heart and head.  Nothing.

At this point I was livid.  Something was wrong!  Was he drinking more than I thought?  Several family members had all commented on and expressed concern over Hubby’s drinking and behavior.  Talking to our doctor, I had a fit!  Why hadn’t the doctor suggested my husband stop drinking?  I wasn’t sure what the problem was.  It could have been his drinking, or his drinking could have masked the real problem.   Two years we had lived with whatever this was, and I felt it was getting worse.

One day Hubby was in a meeting, and a nurse noticed him repeatedly taking deep breaths.  She grabbed his wrist and realized his heart rate was off.  A quick trip to his heart specialist got him hooked up to a heart monitor of the next 48 hours. Hubby’s heart stopped for a few seconds more than once during that time, which resulted into a referral to an electro-cardiologist. The electo-cardiologist’s initial thought was to adjust some medications, because hubby said he experienced no dizziness.  Instead, Hubby wore a heart monitor for a month.

Hubby’s heart stopped several significant times during that month, without incident.  Hubby got a pacemaker.  Suddenly Hubby had a little energy.  It turns out those falls he took, may have restarted his heart.  He was a very lucky man.  The morning after the pacemaker installation a check and reported that it had fired a quarter to a third of the time.

Since Hubby got his pacemaker, he became the man he once was, and instead of only wanting to sit with his martini and be left alone, he has resumed interests and activities he has always enjoyed.  Now that Hubby’s heart is keeping his blood moving, he is a happy man.

So on this Wonderful Wednesday, I am thankful for Hubby’s good health, and I share his story in the hope that you are a little better informed of this killer.

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