Life With a Pacemaker

Issue no. 2: matters of the heart
words - attia taylor | illustration - singha hon

Lois Shaw
77 years old
Kerrville, TX

It was December 2016. I was having some respiratory problems, and one particular morning, my sinuses were acting up. My chest was congested, and as I sat up, I felt a squeeze in my left arm. I thought it was the way I had been lying, but when I got up, I started coughing, and really wasn’t feeling well. I went to the emergency room, and they immediately did an EKG and EEG, to understand what was going on. After the X-rays and lab work, I found out that I had an abnormal heart rhythm, a second-degree heart blockage, and was referred to a cardiologist, who I was to see immediately. My cardiologist determined that my block had progressed to a third-degree blockage, which could be fatal if not treated.

He told me that I needed a pacemaker.

On December 28th, 2016, I had a pacemaker inserted in a short procedure. I stayed in the hospital overnight to be monitored, just as a precautionary measure. After being discharged, I went about my daily activities. I haven’t had any problems since. In fact, I have more energy now than I had prior to my pacemaker.

Now, I watch my diet and exercise. I found out that nutrition has a lot to do with heart health, and that exercise is really important. So, I started walking and joined a fitness center to stay active.

If you’re receiving or just received a pacemaker, my advice is to follow the directions given by your doctors and live life, rather than be apprehensive. That’s what I do. The way I see it is that having a pacemaker enhances your ability to go about your everyday life. It helps you to have a healthy heart.