The Day I Got My Pacemaker
I was hoping to write a post everyday detailing my post-op experience but I was feeling a bit more pain than I expected which required Percocet, making me feel a little lousy so things didn’t go as planned, but that’s life!
I had my pacemaker implanted on Tuesday February 5th! I recieved a dual chamber Medtronic Azure Pacemaker. I remember the day so vividly. I woke up at 4AM to take a shower, wash and blow dry my hair because I wasn’t sure when I’d be allowed to shower again. I had to be at the hospital at 6AM for a 7AM start time. I arrived at the hospital at 6AM, signed paperwork, the nurses established an IV line, I was hooked up to the cardiac monitor, consent was obtained from my electrophysiologist for the pacemaker implant/loop recorder removal, and consent from anesthesia. They ran a little late as I was only brought back to the cath lab about 8AM. I remember being brought into the cath lab. The nurses started hooking me up to their cardiac monitor, put defibrillator pads on me (I remember how cold they felt), placed me on nasal cannula, and placed my wrist’s into restraints that would be tied once I was asleep/removed before waking up (this is for your protection, in case you were to wake up disorientated and attempt to pull at something). The anesthesiologist started to push sedative medication on me, I don’t remember much after this but apparently I was very much awake! I was supposed to receive conscious sedation but my body was fighting, didn’t want want to sleep(apparently this can happen with younger patients). I don’t remember anything though! They ended up placing what’s called a laryngeal mask airway so I could receive more medication to help sedate me while making sure my airway was secured. They want to give you enough medication so you’re relaxed, lightly sedated but not too much to suppress your breathing.
My surgery took about two hours, I came out at 10 AM. My next memory was waking up in the recovery area with my parents at my bedside. I was a little loopy! I felt the dressing on my pacemaker site & I kept saying I thought I did something to make the pacemaker protrude out of my skin. Pretty soon after waking up the pain started. I want to mention that since I am young I had an aesthetic concern for the pacemaker. My EP suggested we place it under the muscle. This is called Sub-Pectoral implantation, once healed it won’t be visible. Although this approach has its aesthetic advantages my doctor said it would cause more pain & have a longer recovery. I also had my loop recorder taken out. I received IV Tylenol which didn’t help me much. I then had IV dilaudid which helped significantly, I was finally able to rest again.
I spent one night in the hospital, it was quiet but I didn’t get any sleep, I was exhausted. Overnight I remained on the cardiac monitor for further monitoring, The next morning I was told I would be discharged home but I needed bloodwork, a chest x-ray to confirm everything looked okay, Medtronic came and interrogated my device, and got assessed by the PA who cleared me to be discharged. I was sent home with an antibiotic, Keflex for 5 days and a few day supply of Percocet for pain. I required some assistance from my mom getting dressed. I am unable to lift more than 5 pounds on the affected side, cannot lift it higher than the shoulder for 6 weeks, but the first few days you need to be more careful and it will be painful.
Once I got home I took a much needed nap and was on the road to recovery!