The 13th of April came around quickly and so here I was back at the Alfred at 8:00 being re-admitted. Sadly no breakfast! I ended up in a different ward to last time. During the day I was told a bit about the procedure. Fortunately when I had been in Frankston I had looked at a DVD about pacemakers, what they do and how they are implanted etc. Time went slowly. Karen waited with me for ages. As it turned out I was last procedure for the day at 16:30. The nurses and technicians set things up and discussed what would happen. The surgeon came in and had a chat then some local anaesthetic was fed in through my drip line, I was liberally covered in cold betadine and it all started. They talked to me as things happened which was scarily interesting. Because you had a ‘tent’ around you it seemed to divorce you from the reality that the procedure was happening to you!
Back in the ward I was able to greedily devour my first meal for the day, dinner! Anti-biotic was regularly fed through my drip line as infection is one of the biggest problems with having a ‘foreign body’ put in your body. Painkiller helped at first and even though I again was attached to heart monitoring equipment I was able to blissfully drift off to sleep. About 3:00 the next morning I wasn’t so pain free. More painkiller was administered and I bombed out quickly. Who’s shaking me? What’s going on? No I wasn’t dreaming. It was my nurse apologetically waking me. Yes it was only 5:00 but I was timetabled for an X-ray! The orderly drove me around and I had X-rays taken of two different angles. Sadly on the way back I felt ill. Apparently a reaction to the strong painkiller. Some anti-nausea medication soon solved that problem. Back to sleep until breakfast. Then a succession of nurses, cardiologists and a pacemaker technician came through checking things out. They were all happy so I was to be discharged that morning. (Surprisingly the pacemaker is set to kick in at a low 50 beats per minute.) Karen came in quickly from where she was staying at my cousin’s house and home we drove.
Once back at home, I was feeling quite sore but finally I had a pacemaker installed and could start my recovery period. The first few days heavy painkillers certainly helped but by the weekend I was more just stiff in the left arm and shoulder as I was meant to limit movement there for four weeks. After a week the dressings were removed by a local doctor. The wound was healing well even if a bit bruised. Next week I’ll have a review with the surgeon. Now I can enter the next period of life’s journey thanks to the marvels of medical technology.
I certainly am appreciative of the great work the cardiologists, doctors, nurses and other staff at both Franskton and the Alfred hospitals. They do amazing work, quite often under extreme pressure. You never know, one day Governments may actually commit enough money into the health system to match the work these people do.