Yesterday the hubby and I had a trip to the big ol’ city of Toronto – his home turf and my home-away-from-home turf. The trip was supposed to be relatively short, my first pacemaker clinic visit since getting my little battery pack, but with all of the rush hour traffic the time spent away from home was anything but!
Our drive in only took about 90minutes … not bad, but not awesome considering we left midday and there really shouldn’t have been any significant traffic. I was dropped off out front to rush up to the clinic while the hubby found a place to park. He met me at the clinic shortly after I had registered and taken a seat. They were running a bit behind schedule, so I managed to get some knitting done (almost ready to do the ‘foot’ portion of my sock!) and read through a Metro newspaper.
After waiting for a while I was taken in to have my device checked and downloaded. This was my first ever checkup since surgery back in late May so I was a bit apprehensive, but also excited to see how I was doing. I am happy as a clam to announce that i’m only pacing 30% of the time so hopefully my battery will last a good long while and I won’t need replacement surgery any time soon.
They check both leads separately: the upper lead (where most of my pacing happens), was actually quite easy because they lower the settings to see what my heart will do. I managed to slow all the way down to a mellow 40 beats per minute (man I miss those days!). When they check the lower lead (where I think i’m mostly just sensing right now), it feels quite uncomfortable. The tech gives a warning so its not startling or unexpected, just kind of … blah feeling. When she turned the lead back to its regular setting I had an extra beat which was a bit of a ‘whoa’ feeling – she informed me it was exactly as I thought (an extra beat).
We waited for the EP doctor who was taking care of the clinic that day to come check out all of the settings. I had mentioned to both techs that very randomly my heart rate will spike to around 105 or 110 bpm for no apparent reason. I mentioned it to the EP doc and also noted that it seems to be when i’m driving on a particularly bumpy road – a curious thing, that. Turns out the pacemaker has a type of sensor that knows when you are accelerating/decelerating, breathing heavier, and when you’re jostling about. It allows the device to speed up your heart rate because it thinks you need it to go faster (and it is sensing it beating slower than it thinks you need…if that makes sense).
My sensitivity was set to something like “level 8” whereas normal sensitivity is level 4. We’re not entirely sure why it was set to be extra sensitive, maybe because I mentioned that I worked out a lot? Who knows, either way they set it down to a cool level 2, so even less sensitive than normal. This is because my heart is a-okay to beat on its own when I get to higher heart rates (like when i’m startled, exercising, excited), and I only need the backup and kickstarts when I’m relaxed and sleeping. SO hopefully this will completely eliminate all of those random strings of fast beats and I can happily continue on until my next check up in 6 months.
Its back to the grind today – after a full work day I’m going to fit in a short workout before my yoga class in the evening. My running buddy will be attending with me, then we will head home for dinner and relaxation. I have to pack up my car tonight too because after work on Friday i’m heading up north to celebrate my sister’s “Last Fling Before the Ring” — so its going to be a bumpy ride the next few days. Hoping I can keep trucking through until Monday next week and then MAYBE I can chill.
Thats all for now,