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Heart failure and other things blog 11

The photo is of Neema finding the smallest place she can curl up on, and not fall off.

 

It’s five weeks since the CRT-D device was implanted and I just had the four-weekly check-up. I’d gone there worried as I thought I had dislodged a lead or two. On more than one occasion I’d woken with both arms raised above my head. I’d been told not to raise my left arm above shoulder height for six weeks after the op, so having done just that three times I expected the worst. To my great relief the leads were still in place and all was well.

 

I haven’t noticed a vast difference since having the pacemaker implanted. I’d like to say I’ve been doing this or that physical activity (apart from attending my father’s funeral), but the truth is I think the device has halted the downward slide and hasn’t done much else so far, although I’ve been told it takes time so perhaps I’m just being impatient. The consultant wanted me to drop my intake of furosemide diuretic from 120 mg to 80 mg per day on the grounds that ‘the heart will take over regarding kidney function’ but that also hasn’t happened. If I drop the diuretic my weight increases by half a pound or more each day and doesn’t reduce, meaning that after a week I have more breathing trouble, so for now I’m on 120 mg and staying on it. Having been back in hospital twice because of difficulty with breathing, I have no intention of going back again.

 

The other tablets are also a concern because I don’t seem to be doing well on the metoprolol beta-blocker. Side effects from that or other drugs appear to be light-headedness and lethargy, and it’s a question of finding out which of the tablets is causing that. Generally I don’t feel as though I have any energy or clear-headed thinking until late in the day, which is frustrating.

 

At the check-up I was given a machine to do remote monitoring of the pacemaker – all very clever stuff, as it means the hospital can do remote checks instead of requiring me to attend appointments there. It’s a bit weird, for someone of my generation, like something out of a science fiction novel. The machine looks like a telephone base with removable handset. To get a reading I pick up the handset and place it over the pacemaker, following visual instructions on the machine’s display panel. It sends the information via mobile signal to the hospital. Two minutes and that’s it, done.

 

The first night after the check-up I woke at 1.15 am with strange goings-on in my chest which felt as though the pacemaker was being tested or it was doing something. The same thing happened two nights later, also at 1 am. I contacted the hospital pacemaker department, they ran a check and rang back to say there had been no arrhythmia but they want me back next week to check again. So it seems even fantastic new technology has its limits, but what a way to keep an eye on patients. I’m very impressed. Reminds me of the equipment used by Dr McCoy in Star Trek.

 

So that’s it for now, I’ll update this after the next hospital appointment.

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