Bob had needed an engine tune-up for some time but was resistant. The time came that even he was ready to do something so in August a pacemaker was installed.
It was a day surgery procedure which still amazes me.
He came home with this transmitter that sits on his bedside table. Sometime during the night it wakes up and silently 'talks' to his pacemaker. If all is normal it goes back to sleep. If it detects any unusual activity has occurred it sends a report to the cardiologist and we get a phone call.
It has sent a report only one time and we did get a phone call. For some unknown reason he had eight heart beats that were too fast.
For years Bob's cardiologist did the pacemaker procedure himself when it was needed. But times have changed and this group of cardiologists now refer their patients to a heart rhythm speciality group of doctors. Bob wasn't happy because he likes one doctor to do everything. I thought it was a smart move for everyone involved. I was pleased.
I've long thought medicine needed to get out of the contest of every hospital and clinic having the most expensive equipment and stop trying to top each other. It's much cheaper to do it this way. Our referral was to a group of heart rhythm consultants at a hospital in Portland. Oddly enough we live about the same distance between our hospital in Hillsboro and the one in Portland. It also troubled Bob to have to use a different hospital. So be it, we were off to see what these new docs had to say. I thought it was a much preferred way to do things. These doctors deal exclusively with heart rhythm issues and the procedures involved. Lots more education and practice.
Like many patients Bob has conflicting ailments. He has a hematology problem that conflicts with his heart problems. He always has a low platelet count and he also needs to take aspirin and Coumadin/Warfarin. I was anxious to see what we would need to do about these medications. Imagine my surprise when the surgeon said to do nothing, they do not take patients off blood thinners to put in a pacemaker and his low platelet count was still high enough he didn't need medical intervention before surgery. Can you believe that? Wow.
We were released after the procedure and told to see our regular cardiologist in a week. We'll probably never see those doctors again unless he develops a pacemaker problem.
I wish I could say all this process has been without anxiety but that would not be true.
But at last we're back to something we can live with. At last we can say he's feeling better than before he received the pacemaker.
He's driving some again; able to go to the grocery store alone; walks up to get the mail; and in general has more energy.