A very personal Journey

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Its been twelve months since I’ve wrote a personal blog. I have a few decorating-related draft articles that will eventually make an appearance on the site, but here I’d like to expand upon my personal journey that began in 2016.

Following on from my ordeal of December 2017, and my subsequent recovery during January 2018, my new pacemaker was working well. It was more advanced than its predecessor and the hospital could even monitor my progress by the magic of the interweb.

I was back at work in February, ready to tackle a few interesting projects, including a ten foot by twelve foot digital mural installation. More on that in another post, though; the most important point here is that things were going well.

My daughter began looking at universities in July, and it was just before one of these visits that I noticed my pacemaker scar appeared to have a little hole in it. Conveniently, as the University visit happened to be Newcastle, I thought I might just be able to pop into the hospital to get it checked.

So, as my daughter was in a taster lecture session, we called the pacemaker consultant who, thanks to my colourful medical history, we reached instantly. We explained the situation and, although he was very sympathetic, he said all appointments had been taken that day and asked if I could come back the following week. We agreed, promising to send a picture of my scar so the the consultant could see it.

Ten minutes after emailing the hospital a picture of my right collarbone, the phone rang. The consultant’s secretary was on the other end, asking me to be in the hospital within the next two hours. After our daughter had seen everything she needed to, we headed over to Newcastle’s cardiology wing for an appointment with two consultants. Right away they broke the news that my body had rejected the pacemaker and it would have to be removed again. To say it was a shock was an understatement.

I was then told to contact the hospital immediately if I saw the silver of the pacemaker appearing through my skin. We returned home, and I cautiously continued working. I think the physical aspects of the job accelerated my pacemakers escape.

Approximately four weeks later, on Sunday night, I sent a message to the hospital informing them that the pacemaker was clearly visible. On Monday morning, I received a telephone call, asking me to be in Newcastle hospital for 4pm.

So again we set of to Newcastle, with a hotel booked for my wife. Both of us were clueless as to how long I’d stay on this occasion. The surgeon spoke with me that night and said I was due in theater the following morning for my pacemaker removal operation.

Once I came around from the anesthetic, I expected to find a temporary pacemaker on my neck as had happened previously. To my surprise, I had nothing. It wasn’t long until the surgeon visited again and informed me the device had been removed successfully, and no infection was present. He then said something which really surprised me considering my last twelve months of hospital visits: I was being allowed to return home the following day.

They wanted to give my body time to recover, and they were not planning on fitting another pacemaker as my body was managing by itself. Again I was shocked. Since then, I’ve done some research and found that, in some cases (especially for those with a long history of cardiac conditions), a heart can partly “rewire” or repair itself if the fault is electrical rather than mechanical.

So that’s where we are at present. I’ve been released back into the wild, un- tethered from any devices or medication. Yes, I will get regular check-ups, and probably at some point in the future they will need to think of a way to give my heart a bit of support. Technology is also moving forward, so who knows what I may end up with.

Work is still progressing. All through these years I’ve even resorted to arranging jobs from my hospital bed, in an effort to maintain what my business does best; upholding a high standard of customer service and delivering quality professional decorating.

Thanks to my family as always, and to Mark who carries on regardless on the occasions I’ve had to disappear from the tools.


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