Having written about it, I realized I had to actually DO something about getting all these medical things set up. I am convinced if I breathe “regular out-of-house air” I’m going to die. That’s not necessarily true, but that’s how I feel.

I still haven’t heard from the ear department for Garry, but this morning I got a call from the Heart Interrogation Unit. Heart interrogation you ask? They talk to my heart and it answers them?

Well, yes, basically that IS what they do. Pacemakers are not just there to remind your heart to beat. They also track everything going on in your heart and to date, nothing has happened except the battery is aging. I hope it’s still true.

Unless you have a Pacemaker, you’ve probably never heard of a Heart Interrogation. It sounds rather James Bond, but it’s more like repairing a computer than torture by Spectre. This is when they meter your heart to check it’s memory. It somehow — in a very tiny package — remembers everything that happened to your heart since the previous reading. Were there any mini attacks? Anything abnormal. After you’ve had this surgery, everything is abnormal, so we are looking at the best results of an abnormal heart.

Any periods of rapid heart beating? And how is the battery doing?


When she asked me when was the last time I had the Pacemaker checked, I realized it was probably more than two years because while I had other important checkups last year, this hospital has a separate department for Pacemakers. They set you up with “a box” that hooks to your telephone so you don’t have to come into the hospital to get a reading on your Pacemaker. This will be a significant convenience in the winter when you don’t want to drive through snow. pounding rain, or howling winds. Now, if only I can get the dogs to stop barking!

There are a lot of good reasons to die these days, but letting your Pacemaker battery run out \seems a particularly stupid reason.

I’m getting close to needing a new battery in the Pacemaker. Last time it was checked — maybe 2017? 2018? Earlier? there were about 4 years left. Time has skedaddled, so now I’m close to the battery’s end-date. My heart will not beat without a Pacemaker and these last few months have been rather over the line.

Not only did she tell me to come I needed to come  ASAP, but she also moved the date forward to next Wednesday. I need to remember that if the battery dies, I die too. That would be a really stupid reason to die. Even I am embarrassed at how long I’ve let this go. I really didn’t remember how long it had been since the battery check was made and there has been a lot of stuff going on.


I can barely remember when my body functioned without a slew of testing.  There were surgeries for tumors (benign) in my right leg (15), the loss of an ovary (19), a spinal fusion (18) plus so much other stuff I can’t remember it. It’s a miracle I made it this far and it’s good someone reminds me that I’ ve got a lot of implants and replacements top to bottom. I don’t remember all of them when, for some reason, I’m trying to figure out which scars are from which events. Doctors should sign the incision with a date and the name of the hospital. Since age has made my short term memory about 15 seconds long, it gets increasingly difficult to remember.

She did assure me that there were VERY few people in the hospital and I would be unlikely to bump into anyone. Garry can’t come in with me which will make maneuvering difficult. There a lot of walking in a big hospital and I don’t move well.

On a more positive note, I will physically leave this house! Imagine that!

Categories: #Photography, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Health, Heart, Marilyn Armstrong, Medical, UMass Memorial

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24 replies

  1. My friend in Santa Barbara has a pacemaker without an underlying heart beat — his battery runs out more quickly than normal because it is working all the time on behalf of the heart. It’s tricky towards the end, because of Medicare’s rules about how little has to be left before they can change it!

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  2. Oh my goodness, Marilyn, you are naughty to go so long without checking the battery. I am sure the check up will go well. I assume the put a new battery in?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems to me a lot of things can be done from afar and that makes a lot of things so much easier.

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  4. Medical centers are the safest place to be these days. I’ve only left the house to go to my Remicade treatment, and I felt quite safe there. All staff and all patients were wearing masks and keeping safe distance whenever possible. The treating nurses, of course, also wore gloves. All surfaces in the building were being cleaned frequently. From what I could see, all the patients were wearing masks as soon as they left their cars and kept the masks on until they got back to their cars, as I did. You could also have a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car and swab your hands as soon as you return. Everything will be fine, Marilyn – you’ll be so much better off than if you don’t go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There IS no hand sanitizer anywhere in the area. A lot of stuff is available if you live in Boston or in its nearby suburbs, but out here? Whatever some other store doesn’t grab.


      • Do you have rubbing alcohol? You could always put some in a small spray bottle. It dries the skin out, but could be used one or twice after an appointment. We were out of hand sanitizer in our area for a long time, but the local store finally got some in. It’s still in short supply, though, so the store limited how many each person could buy. Now we’re having that issue with disinfecting wipes, among other stuff.

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  5. Glad to hear you’re getting this taken care of, Marilyn. Crazy timing, with the pandemic, that’s for sure. Be well!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your maneuvering problem is easily solved. At the entrance (or registration desk) request a wheel chair and an attendant to push you to the clinic. I have relied on the kindness of strangers that way since my first hip surgery when mobility became a large problem. These days walking very far means I’ll fall down. That seems to cause a lot more trouble than just asking for help. Nobody seems to mind either, the person pushing the chair is paid to do things like that. I hope things go well. No dead batteries for you!!

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  7. My sister has a pacemaker and I have a heart monitor, which takes readings every week – it’s a Bluetooth technology, I believe. Both of us have cardiomyopathy, inherited from our father.If my heart stops, the monitor will start it again, which will feel like a strong “kick in the chest” my doctor says. Fortunately, that hasn’t yet happened. My sister’s pacemaker has allowed her to become a lot more mobile, and in fact, after she got it, she and her husband decided they would be able to join us on our trip to Israel last year. As we traipsed around old Jerusalem, my sister fell way behind the rest of us, but eventually we waited and she caught up. She is not getting out much during this pandemic – my brother-in-law walks and bikes regularly, but she stays at home doing puzzles. I wish she’d get out and walk a little bit every day. I think this pandemic has caused a lot of us (myself included) to get less fit, as we only get outside if the weather is good. It’s harder to walk when we haven’t done so in a few days, especially at our age! Hang in there, Marilyn! And just remember, when you get home from venturing out into the contagious world, WASH YOUR HANDS! And maybe change your clothes too.

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    • After my surgery, they couldn’t get my heart to start on its own. They tried every other month for two years, but it needs the pacemaker or it won’t beat. My cardiopathy had run amok and had closed up the aortic valve and left almost no room for blood in that ventricle. My mitral valve was DOA too and I needed a bypass. I may need another bypass, but so far, so good. They did a pretty good job on the heart surgery and as normally as our genetically damaged hears can be, mine is.

      Do you or your sister have children? If so. they need to be checked to see if they have the same condition. It’s 50/50 with kids. Luckily, Owen was OK, so I’m assuming so is Kaity. I don’t think it jumps a generation, but I could be wrong. But it IS definitely inherited. People with genetic cardiomyopathy are very lucky to be diagnosed before they suddenly die for no obvious reason. There are not many doctors who understand the condition and you are lucky that you had a good one!


  8. “Courage, Camille.” Even though Armand might not be coming, you know you’ll be in a safe place to help your heart and that you are doing the right thing being there in time to avert a catastrophe.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Please stay charged until you can get to the hospital. How long will you be there for?

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