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The doctor sent out the representative from the Pacemaker/ICD company to check my fathers device. They do this with a laptop. The last shock he had he screamed. The printout revealed another deadly shock that kicked in at 238 beats a min. The rep. looked down and "said, he would have died from this one. The device worked." (Not the first time this happened either). Bad news, he is 100% dependent on this device. It's
simply pacing. Because of this the battery has worn down significantly faster than most and needs to be replaced asap. However, he may not survive the surgery, but the alternative is certain death since his heart cannot beat on his own. He is so weak - and to replace the battery he would have to go under. The risk is generally 10%, but with someone in his condition - what are they doing with a none beating heart while they replace the battery? Then, if we want to stay in the hospice program, we have to have it replaced at a hospital that my father has never been to or where there are doctors who know us. It's where their Hospice Dept. is based out of. Of course we could drop out of
Hospice and resign after the surgery in the
familiar Hospital, but I hate to go through
that again. I like the people we have w/H
ospice now and my father knows them.
I mean, they are well respected hospitals here in Richmond, VA - so I guess that part is fine. I do not even know how to get him there.
He can't sit up without assistance now. I have to place him in the wheelchair. Poor man. He told me yesterday "I know I am a pain in the ass, but I appreciate all you do for me." I felt so bad for him and guilty that maybe I sigh unconsciencly or something.
Anyway, the rep asked if we wanted to turn off the defib/ICD and my father said he wants it replaced. I agree.
He may not make it either way - what horrible choices.

[This message has been edited by Notenoughhours (edited 07-17-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Notenoughhours (edited 07-17-2005).]
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My thoughts and prayers are with you and your father. It is difficult to decide sometimes which way to go with treatment. I guess all we can do sometimes is opt for the best treatment and pray it is a success.

Please don't feel guilty about "sighing" when faced with information that isn't pleasant. Your father is blessed to have you there helping him. Remember that all that happens is supposed to be that way. God bless you.

Hi Sue,

I haven't been to this site for so long, but today I just felt compelled to visit.

I'm so sorry to hear the difficult procedure your Dad and you will be facing. He hasn't given up yet has he. Such a strong spirited man. I'm sure there are times he feels as if he can't go on, but there is still something on this earth that holds him here. Your love and support of him is so precious. As as the days continue, his appreciation of you grows more and more. He realizes that you are there for him and stand by his decision and that's so important.

I just wanted you to know that I think of you both often and pray you'll be strong through all this.

Hugs to you dear one.

Thank all of you for your responses to my concerns. It is in God's hands now.
Nice to hear from you Chris. And you are right, something is holding him here. He is not ready. The other day is said he had a dream that he was cutting the grass. Oh how he misses that. Yesterday he said he had a dream that he was a Polar bear and itched all over. I told him that he was probably cold while sleeping and maybe the diaper being wet was causing the itching he felt in his sleep.
How are you Chris?
I am going about my daily tasks today and I am not dwelling anymore on the sadness - I have been taking one day at a time.
Hugs to all
Did you know that there has been a recent recall on pacemakers/defibrillators? I saw an article in the newspaper yesterday. Go to and type in pacemaker recall for more info. Here's a short version of the problem.

Turning to pacemakers

After recalling 11 makes of defibrillators in May and June, Guidant is recalling some of its pacemakers. Facts about the latest recall:

Nine models made from Nov. 25, 1997, to Oct. 26, 2000. Models are the Pulsar(R) Max, Pulsar, Discovery(R), Meridian(R), Pulsar Max II, Discovery II, Virtus Plus(R) II, Intelis II, Contak(R) TR.

Hermetic seal gradually degrades, allowing moisture to enter the pacemaker case. Problem typically occurs after product has been implanted four years.

Company found 69 pacemakers with the seal malfunction and 20 cases of loss of pacing output because of the failure. Two patients suffered heart failure that may have been caused by the problem. One of those patients died.

Guidant recommends doctors consider replacing units in patients who rely on the device to pace their hearts.
More good news. Forgive the sarcasm but your information about the pacemakers is just one of the many things that irks me about the medical profession as well as the people who make these devices ... the malfunctions in all of these pacemakers. What would you like to bet that corners were cut on quality control and inferior parts were used to save a little money? I just wish I could understand how these people sleep at night, knowing they may be putting the life of someone in danger by their slipshod work. There is something seriously wrong with the world today.
Cathy - thanks. Yes, guess what? My father's Pacemaker/ICD is the model 1861. I received a letter. Of course my father's has been shocking - but the company Rep. of Guidant naturally tried to persuade me that my father's is working and fine. My question to him was "if your heart, your parents or wife's was, how would you react?" This tan, YOUNG man once again treated me as though I was an idiot. I proceeded to explain that I have been a paralegal for many years and know plenty of attorneys (in a non-challenging manner) and I would look into it. I cannot get a call back from the docs about it - BUT, the battery replacement he is to have is suppose to be help this (?).
it's makes me sick to think that people who have this device are now subjected to that much more stress based on this finding. Huge corporations (I worked for one for years) will attempt to appease customers by handing out a "what to say to callers" memo to their employees to downgrade the seriousness of these types of incidents. It's appalling. Who knows how many others have died of heart failure and have been cremated or buried and no one knows the Pacemaker/ICD was the actual cause.

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