Saturday, 23 August 2014

My Pacemaker Device Change

This is my second brush with surgery under local anesthetic and I feel I might have developed some kind of bad luck with them. I wish I could tell you how much better it went than my Groshong line insertion but I don't think I can say it did.

The problem was that when I was on the table, one of my doctors popped his head in and said, "don't give her too much sedation because she has Pulmonary Hypertension." At this point I didn't really know how strong this sedation was so I thought, oh well hopefully I won't feel too sick with it because usually any kind of drug that causes drowsiness usually makes me feel sick or hallucinate. As I'm underweight I expect they probably weren't planning on giving me a huge amount to start with but with even less going in I felt relaxed for about the time it took to lay a sheet over my head and the  I felt completely back to normal. This time they actually did give me enough anesthetic so I couldn't feel the insition but the problem with local anesthetic is that it doesn't do much for anything below skin level so all the cutting and pulling at my muscle was agony and unfortunately the weight I had lost meant that he had to cut deeper into the muscle so that the pacemaker wouldn't be sticking out so much. I'm not going to lie, it was extremely painful and they refused to give me any more sedation when I asked. 

It seems to me like they should have had a proper meeting to decide whether it was more dangerous to give me general anesthetic, which carries it's own risks, or to give me sedation rather than to expect a twenty-one-year-old, who let's face it has been through a lot already, to deal with that amount of pain with nothing more than a nurse holding her hand. I agree with my specialist nurse that doctors assume the more operations you've had the easier it is but in actual fact the more you've had the harder it is because the more trauma you've been through, the more bad experiences and bad thoughts you have associated with surgery. This pacemaker change is my sixteenth operations and I can confirm, it does not get the slightest bit easier. 

But on top of all that I had to deal with the pain of a pressure dressing, pushing at all this ripped, cut and sore muscle because it wouldn't stop bleeding. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound, stamping on the broken foot, while saying airily, "oh you must have a low pain threshold". I have never been so close to punching someone in the face! Perhaps if they had given me the proper pain relief I wouldn't have been so distressed but I'm afraid paracetamol just doesn't cut it. Especially when they only give it me every six hours because I'm so underweight. Morphine would have caused more bleeding as it dilates the blood vessels and codeine makes me extremely drowsy and sick, the resulting vomiting would have caused more pain than ever. I couldn't help thinking that if they just left it alone and stopped prodding at all the swelling, changing the dressings and putting pressure on it, it wouldn't have bled so much in the first place.

Unfortunately the wound is still agony as it's more swollen and bruised than you would usually expect. Probably down to the excess bleeding, the fact that I'm on warfarin, which stops my blood clotting and my Pulmonary Hypertension medications, which open up the blood vessels. I'm home from hospital but very uncomfortable even with the combined efforts of Oxynorm (a liquid morphine they finally let me take once the bleeding had stopped), paracetamol and iburprofen. I can get it comfortable enough to sleep for the six hours I have to leave between doses so I'm managing. I'm extremely tired and sleeping through the night as well as taking two two-hour naps throughout the day. I think my body is still struggling with the trauma whilst desperately trying to repair itself.

I'm sorry I couldn't give you the usual positivity. I'm feeling a little shaken up by my experience but I've recovered from everything else to there's no reason why I won't recover from this. I tend to feel better very suddenly. Everything will be back to normal soon. Time is the greatest healer. 

This is currently what my wound looks like. 

I hope to bring you good news of my amazing healing powers in a few days time. Thank you for all your thoughts and good wishes. 


  1. Aww Sara that sounds awful and i totally agree the more operation you have it doesn't get easier, I'm more anxious about them now that I ever was. Hope it heals up nicely for you and you do lots of resting
    Stacie xoxo

  2. Sara, I'm sorry to hear about your experience, don't apologize for not "being positive enough", this is you, this is your experience & this is what we are all here for. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, this is your story & I am happy that you share as much as you can. Thank you for being completely honest! I am sending you lots of healing thoughts & prayers.




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