THIS IS THE STORY OF MY JOURNEY ON HOW AND WHY I RECEIVED MY PACEMAKER
My name is Gavin Scott-Wilson. At the time I was 48 years of age and in very good health. Where does one start, I suppose at the beginning…
It was an early Saturday morning at the Valhalla Parkrun were we volunteered and doing our pre run. I had lost a lot of weight and was running well, trying to get a PB (personal best) time which I did.
We finished our Parkrun and went home where my wife and I were putting up blinds. While drilling the holes for the wall plugs, I felt a sharp intense pain in my chest which was unbearable. Yolanda (my wife) said I was looking for an excuse to not work and go and watch the rugby. Not realising at the time that this was my first heart attack.
Sunday late afternoon, I went for a jog to clear my mind and while running, I got the same sharp shooting pain in my shoulder and chest, this time even worse than the first time but carried on and done nine kilometers that day. Heart attack No. 2.
Tuesday morning – got up, got ready for work, went to see my customers and went back home to do paper work. I stood up to call Yolanda when the same pain hit me. I wasn’t feeling so good and never realised that this was the 3rd heart attack and it was the worst. Yolanda on her way to a client meeting phoned and made a doctor’s appointment and got the necessary approvals for ECG’s etc.
Upon arrival at the doctor’s rooms, they were already waiting for me as the Doc wanted to do a stress ECG. She gave me one look (me holding my chest), and helped me to the rooms and immediate me to the heart machine.
Dr. Joubert realised what had happened and phoned Dr. Ebrahim (cardiologist at Unitas hospital) to admit me to hospital ASAP. Dr. Joubert informed Yolanda who had to turn around to come back and she rushed me to Unitas, where I was immediately sent to Cardio ICU.
I was in hospital under observation for 4 days. The test results presented that I had a condition called SSS (Sick Sinus Syndrome) in other words my heart was beating way to low between 26 and 37 bpm.
That’s when the decision was made that I needed a pacemaker.
Unsure and shocked, I did not expect this and for a man my age – being health and hardly ever go to a docter, this came as a shock to both of us.
Trying to come to terms with the implant of a pacemaker and not having knowledge about it, we had a private consultation with the cardiologist to explain the pro’s and con’s of having such an implant…
On March 13th 2018 I went in a human and came out a Bionic man with Titanium in my chest, I was feeling good. The pacemaker was doing it’s job.
After a week since the implant, I returned back to Parkrun and completed a 5 km walk with my arm in a sling (doctor’s orders to wear the sling for the next 6 weeks).
With all honesty the pacemaker changed my life to a certain extend as I now appreciate things that I would usually take for granted.
Before the pacemaker I was independent and could do choirs and maintenance in and around the house. Now I have certain restrictions e.g. I cannot be around induction, welding and drilling equipment as well as anything that has vibrations. Magnetised areas are also a no-no as I cannot walk through any metal detector facilities e.g. used at airports or used in body scanning equipment.
Should my heartrate drop below 60 bpm, the pacemaker would register the lowered heart rate and kick in to normalise again.
I can now live a normal life, run, gym, do everything an adult male of my age would and can do.
To be honest its all in the mind and your approach to having a foreign object in your chest. That is my story.