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Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 08:25 AM   #1
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Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

All:

Ever heard of 3rd Degree Heart Block? Well neither had I till last Saturday. On Thursday I started getting a little dizzy when moving around a bit. OK while sitting. Thought nothing of it. Come Saturday I was very weak and checked my blood pressure. Pretty low with a heart rate of a mere 35. :P DW insisted I go to the doc. To cut a long story short, I ended up in the ER, then ICU and am now a proud recipient of a ICD, AKA, Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator, AKA Programmable Pulse Generator, AKA Cardiac Pacemaker. 8)

Apparently some gremlin crept in and cut the wire that triggers the ventricle to beat. The Ramifications are that the ol' ticker simply eventually stops. Quite bad so they told me . The cardialogist told me to forever thank my DW as I probably would not have woken up the next morning as I did not go in immidiately I had the symptoms. Also lucky that as I am only 52, I had Zero (The good bit) Repeat Zero heart damage.

I am home now after 4 days in the ER and ICU, all is well and beating quite normally.

Moral - If Your heart stops, (starts beating at anything below 40 BPM) go to ER, do not pass go or collect your $200!

Irony - A life long computer guy that now heeds a computer to kee his heart going.

Regards SWR
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:28 AM   #2
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Sorry to hear about all this SWR - very scary stuff - how are you feeling?

I wish you well for your recovery.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:37 AM   #3
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Very scarey, you are a very lucky man. I hope all goes well in the future for you.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Yikes!

Good oh. Congrats to DW for me.

You never know - better safe than sorry. Glad you are here to post.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

I had never heard of that either, SWR. Must have been scary - good thing that you did get yourself into a hospital!

Great to hear you had no heart damage. At 52, you've got a long while to live and they are making advances in this stuff all the time. Maybe someday you won't need the computer to keep your heart beating.

Apart from reminding us again how precious life is and how we should enjoy each day we're here, this post also made me think about the importance of living within reasonable distance to a major medical facility ... not something I had really thought about before.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:55 AM   #6
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Glad you are OK, and hats off to your DW for kicking your butt.

You know, it probably is time for an auto tranny now*
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:56 AM   #7
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

WOW...

Very lucky DW insisted and you agreed to go to the doctor.
Hope you do well with the pacemaker and don't have any more symptoms. *

DO you have to worry about microwaves now?
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 10:00 AM   #8
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

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Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider
...and am now a proud recipient of a ICD, AKA, Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator, AKA Programmable Pulse Generator, AKA Cardiac Pacemaker. 8)
ShokWaveRider,

Amazing how prophetic you were when choosing your forum member name! (Psssst. What's the DOW gonna to do the rest of the year?)

Sorry to hear about your problem, but glad things turned out OK.

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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

All:

Thanks for all your good wishes.

Actually things are fine now. Other than feeling like you have been kicked in the chest, or hit with a football, all is well. The pain is from the implant surgury site not anything else. I just get a little tired and have be careful with the arm on the implant side until all is all healed up. Looks a lot worse than it actually is. But the Ticker is getting it's juice and that is all that counts.

Just gotta take it easy for a week or so till it is all healed up. Amazing how simple it all is really. One small electrical signal gets interrupted and everything goes caput. The cardiac folks say it is one of the main causes of sudden death in older adults. Normally the heart cannot maintain a beat for long after the signal is interrupted. In actual fact the heart does have a fail safe. If no signal gets to the pump it will revery to a reactionary beat every 15 - 24 times per min. Not much but enough to get you to the ER. The older you get or depending on the cause, it can only mainain that for a certin time until it finally gives up completely.

The cause are the interesting part, as it cannot be pinpointed. Usually the problem occurs after a massive heart attack , not in my case (Thankfully). Or, what is referred to as a silent heart attack, one that cannot be noticed by the bearer, it causes minimal muscle damage that heals up but can render the Node that generates the signal innoperative.

Beta Block Drugs for controlling blood pressure can be a cause and it can be congenital. They think that mine was just congenital and waiting to happen because of my age.

You get to chose whicch side you want the box on and it can hardly be noticed. It does not impede life in any way at all. The only restrictions are:

No hugging and kissing Radio and TV station transmitter antennae, not something that you do every day.
No MRIs
No going too close to big magnets like those in junk yards

A few other small things that are really insignificant. Most of the things one hears with Microwaves etc. are urban myths and do not affect things.

You are not supposed to hany arround conducting conversations while going through security screening devices, but walking through is fine.

They do give you a card so you can bypass the airport screening systems. More because of the guards uneducation with the devices, than the electronics itself. Your typical security guard is not really up on technology and would probably have you walking through 10 times or staying in it for a while. So to avoid any confusion they say just tell them, show the card get searched and your done.

Now remember look for the symptoms it is more common that you think.

SWR
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

I'm glad you're OK, SWR, and that you have a spouse to nag you. I never would have seen this coming.

I have to admit that the recent cardiac-related posts have sucked a lot of fun out of going deep into oxygen debt during tae kwon do workouts and even surfing.

I'm not fast, and I'm not particularly accurate, but I have stamina.* I do much better in matches with three-minute rounds where endurance is necessary. (Our upcoming tournament will only have one-minute rounds.)* I've worked very hard over the last two years to improve my anaerobic performance just for endurance situations.* After months of painful practice I can push hard past the lactic acid, rubber limbs, panting, & nausea until I see spots or even that "closing in" effect just before losing consciousness-- and I can recover quickly.* I have a pretty good oxygen-processing capability and it's not unusual for my resting heartrate to be in the low 50s or even the high 40s.

But now this extreme exertiion can be a bad thing?!?* Sheesh.

It's almost as if we're no longer immortal.*
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

SWR,

Glad to here your still with us. It just reafirms my thoughts about retirement and enjoying your life. I will be 57 this month and plan on joining you in Fla. this year.

All the best to you.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Glad you're still with us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I'm not fast, and I'm not particularly accurate, but I have stamina. I do much better in matches with three-minute rounds where endurance is necessary.
I'm betting your wife receives this with mixed feelings.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 12:54 PM   #13
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Ian, I am so glad you are fine.

One of my coworkers had exactly the same thing happen several years ago when he was in his late 40s. He felt kind of faint and passed out. His wife called the ambulance. Now he has all the heart regulating implants and the defibrillator. He tells me that if his heart needs a shock, the internal defibrillator makes a beeping noise first so he can sit or lay down before getting zapped.

He is doing great, BTW, and is back long distance running.

He says he is lucky to have no plumbing problems to go along with the electrical problems.

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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 01:08 PM   #14
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454
SWR,

Glad to here your still with us. It just reafirms my thoughts about retirement and enjoying your life. I will be 57 this month and plan on joining you in Fla. this year.

All the best to you.
Perhaps we can get together when you do. Got any Scars? We can compare them.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 01:22 PM   #15
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Ian, I am so glad you are fine.

One of my coworkers had exactly the same thing happen several years ago when he was in his late 40s. He felt kind of faint and passed out. His wife called the ambulance. Now he has all the heart regulating implants and the defibrillator. He tells me that if his heart needs a shock, the internal defibrillator makes a beeping noise first so he can sit or lay down before getting zapped.

He is doing great, BTW, and is back long distance running.
Matha thanks. I never actually passed out, just got dizzy when I moved about a bit. That is why it took 3 days for me to let my DW to drag me in to the Docs, so I could get some peace and quiet.

They do say there are no long term effects of the defibrillator. In my case there is zip connection to the Ventricle. So no pulse at all. the unit is working 100% of the tim on the ventricle. No beeps squeaks or grinds, just a nice steady pulse.

In actual fact the unit I have is quite smart. It is variable from 50bpm to 130bpm based on demand. It reads the Atrium "P" Node pulse and transmits the signal to the main pump (Ventricle). Kinda kool for a computer guy. They put an RF receiver on my cheat and print out a log on a laptop computer. Give it a tune up and away I go.

The thing has a chunk of memory that tells us what is going on. It is also BiPolar so it does not use a ground like some devices. It's computer is adaptive and learns your schedule so it can log abnormalities. So if you heart is normally beating at say 70bpm and all of a sudden you get a 100bpm beat wihout any warning it can adapt itself to the demand and log the occurance for the next download.

The tune ups are as follows:

1 The day after the implant.
2 Friday (4 days after)
3 Another 3 Weeks after that.
4 Then a check every 4 months. really just a battery check.

Batteries in this is supposed to last 10 years, but mine is working 100% on my Ventrical (That is the wire that broke) and 0% on my atrium, so it is working a 50% duty cycle. So they estimate a 7 year lapse between replacement. Not too shabby. They simply change the whole device with the next generation and use the same wires when the time comes. They do not actually change the batteries.

SWR ...... Beep ...... Zap ...... Beep ....... Zpttttt ......
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 01:35 PM   #16
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider
Perhaps we can get together when you do. Got any Scars?* We can compare them.
So far just the knees, I keep eating apples though.

I'll be just south of you in the Melbourne area.
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 02:45 PM   #17
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

Good luck Man. Glad to hear you are OK!

Ha
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 02:56 PM   #18
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

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In actual fact the unit I have is quite smart.
Cool -- you're a cyborg! Now you need a t-shirt that says "Intel Inside."
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 09:50 PM   #19
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

SWR, glad to hear you are ok.

Does that below 40 heartbeat based on a certain average resting pulse. Although, I haven't done much bike riding lately with selling my house keeping me occuppied, my current pulse as I write this is about 48. Mine has been as low as 45 so 40 wouldn't necessarily setoff any alarms but should it?
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.
Old 04-06-2006, 11:47 PM   #20
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Re: Lucky Escape Last Week, and then some.

SWR,

Be sure to thank Spanky for doing a good job making the gadget that keeps your ticker going.
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