Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pacemaker Four Is Ticking Away!

It is in my chest, and my fourth pacemaker is now keeping my lower heart block at a steady sixty beats per minute! Friday afternoon they took me to an operating room at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, shaved my chest and put in my brand-new, Boston Scientific pacemaker.

I was told ahead of time I could go home later that day if they did not have to put in any new leads. As it turned out, one of my leads was frayed at the end, so Dr. David Melby capped that end and put in a new Medtronic lead. 

I found out later after a conversation with Dr. Thomas Johnson, who is a longtime friend from Worthington and also a cardiac surgeon of some note in his own right. Dr. Tom told me they would leave that cable in because it is probably scarred in and could cause excessive bleeding if they tried to take it out. It is always good to have your own cardiac surgeon as a friend on Facebook!

 Dr. Melby took an x-ray of my new pacemaker and emailed it to me. I put up a brief note on my Facebook page last night and it has over one hundred twelve Likes and about fifty Comments! I am wondering what will happen when I put this post on my Facebook page?

Here is the x-ray:

If you are a Facebook user, click on this link and see the overwhelming response already! At least it is overwhelming for me:

Dr. Melby told me this pacemaker should last eight to twelve years! The batteries have improved that much in the eight years I had number three. 

I was told I could not drive home, so I arranged for a ride to and from the hospital with Metro Mobility. The woman I talked to at Metro told me it would be no problem if I needed to stay overnight and rearrange for ride the next day. They do not have same-day service, but they do have an arrangement with Checker Taxi Service and their wheelchair accessible vans. They are tiny and my chair barely made it in so the back door could close! If it is not one problem, there is always another problem waiting just behind!

The nurse who discharged me gave me four pages of discharge notes with explicit directions on how to care for my wound for the next seven to ten days. There is a thin layer of glue holding the scar shut. The Dura Bond will slowly deteriorate and the wound should be back to normal in ten days. I took this photograph this morning and the swelling and redness has gone down considerably since I got home. Here is a small section of my chest and the wound:

As always, you should be able to click on me image to make it larger:

The dark spot is a small spot of blood and is stuck under the tape. I am thankful it is just below my feeling of sensation because I can tell from other pieces of tape it is very itchy.  I was also told not to raise my arm above my head for at least a week.

I will tilt my chair back and watch my Sunday evening lineup of television once I send this off.

Thus ends the next chapter of Pacemaker Number Four.

I look forward to your comments and/or questions. Remember, if you put up a Comment, it will take a while for it to appear in the list of comments because I need to check it first to make sure it is not Spam.




Karen B said...

Dear Mike,

Glad your surgery was a success!

Is it coincidental that your heart is now a steady 60 beats per minute and you just turned 60?


Mary said...

I was thinking about you today, wondering how you are doing! Thanks for the update ... Cool to hear about the details of your adventure!


Frank said...

Love the x-ray picture. Clearly a very handsome man, indeed!

Dennis said...

Sounds good, Mike. You have always been one of my heroes.

Colleen said...

Mikey, thought I posted this yesterday but guess not!! As you know only toooo well, relief is the operative word today! The drop from 30 to 10 percent the old one was operating at was a BIT troublesome--to put it mildly!!! Now you are good to go again! Keep on trucking!!!

Lynn K said...

Glad your surgery went well! I will keep you in my prayers! You are a fighter, Mike!