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Heart failure and other things blog 7 (June 2017)

The new drug, Ivabradine, wasn’t successful and I had to be taken off it. Even half a tablet reduced my pulse rate to 50 or lower, and apparently that puts a person in the danger zone, so the doctors withdrew it. Ironic because one of the problems I have is that my heart rate/pulse rate goes up way above 100 when I’m trying to do even simple things like having a wash in the morning. However, there is some light on the horizon – tomorrow I go to Telford to have a pacemaker fitted and I’m hoping it will make a difference. It should help to regulate the heart. I’ve been told it won’t stop the heart rate from going up, but it will stop it dropping too low and that would allow me to take more of the drugs that help my heart.

The drugs have changed. I’ve been taken off Bisoprolol  and put on Metoprolol (which sounds like something out of Batman) as it has a shorter time span of action. The diuretic, Furosemide, has been put up from 20mg per day to 120mg per day. I thought that was a huge amount of ‘water tablets’ to take, but the consultant laughed and said, ‘480 mg is a huge amount.’

The pacemaker is expected to aid fluid retention, too. It’s not a standard pacemaker but the Rolls-Royce top end, the bees’ knees. I’m having a CRT-D type, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. CRT-D stands for Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy with a Defibrillator. It was emphasised that this device will affect symptoms but it won’t cure the heart failure. A regular pacemaker has one or two leads, and this has three. One goes to the right ventricle, another to the right atrium and the third goes to the left ventricle. The leads should stabilise the heart rhythm (resynchronisation) and ease pulmonary hypertension, the cause of fluid retention related to poor heart function.

So I should be delighted I’m getting this. Actually, I’m nervous as hell. I’m such a frigging coward. Hospital procedures scare the shit out of me and this one is due tomorrow morning. It’s going to take longer than a normal pacemaker implant, and since I already have an underlying condition of vertigo (spinning sensations) set off by lying flat, the thought of doing so for two or three hours is not making me relaxed. They have said I will have a sedative as apparently sedatives are given to everyone who has a CRT-D. That suits me. I would prefer to be out of it and wake up three hours later with somebody saying, ‘All done,’ but I’m not sure how long the sedative lasts – probably not for three hours, is my guess. I need this, so I’ll just have to put up with the possibility of vertigo.

While I was in hospital this last time, Mike (son) set up five old mobile phones around my house, all on motion sensor to take videos and allow him to see my cat, Neema. While he was describing the set-up he had an alert of movement at the house and we watched her. ‘It has a speaker on it too, so you can call out to her,’ he said, and started calling her name although she’d moved off upstairs. I was horrified. ‘Mike, you can’t do that. She won’t know what’s going on. She’ll be wandering around the house with all these disembodied voices calling her. I’ll be going back to a brain-damaged cat!’

We fell about, laughing. Later, Kenda tried calling her over the phone  and said she wouldn’t do it again, because Neema responded. ‘She looked up as though I was going to appear and give her some love and I’m not there. I felt really guilty,’ she said afterwards.

It’s a learning experience having pets.

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