I went to see the pacing doctor today. He was quite friendly and helpful and realistic in an almost discouraging way. He was trying to make sure that I didn’t think that having a pacemaker fitted would make me suddenly have lots more energy. Unfortunately, this is what I was hoping would happen!
He also explained the long-term, cumulative, risks of having the pacemaker fitted. Apparently, the biggest potential problem with me having a pacemaker in the near future is my age – as in being young, not old, which is an odd thought, really. Usually, the younger you are the better, as far as having medical procedures goes, I would have thought. Not in this case, it seems. Because I’m relatively young (compared to the people who generally have pacemakers fitted) the pacemaker battery will run out and have to be replaced more often during my life-span (due to it being hopefully quite long!) – about once every ten years, and the pacemaker wires will also need replacing once every 15-20 years, apparently. Each time this is done the risk of things going wrong it greater, I suppose.
Despite these risks, he advised that I should have a pacemaker fitted sooner rather than later, as I am feeling the effects of the heart block and I will have to have a pacemaker at some point, so I may as well do it now (or as near to now as the waiting list allows). I just hope that it does make a difference and I feel some benefit. The doctor was saying that although the pacemaker will correct the rhythm of the heart my overall energy levels may not be massively improved. But surely if the heart is beating ‘normally’ I should have more energy and be able to walk distances without getting out of breath and (on occasion) grinding to a halt? I hope so! Anyway, I’m willing to try it, as this is the only way I’m going to find out if it will help.
So, I’m now on the waiting list. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask how long the waiting list is, so I’ll just have to keep looking out for the letter.
If there is anyone out there who has a pacemaker I would be interested to hear about your experiences.