The Miraculous Machine – THE BODY!
What is pain and why do we have it? Our body is a miraculous machine, When it is operating correctly, everything works well and we don’t have pain. But when something starts going wrong, we will get a warning sign in the form of pain. Pain is a good thing.
How bad is your pain?
When we break a bone we generally have pain too. Not everyone feels pain the same. Some people can take horrendous amounts of pain, while others can barely tolerate a tiny amount of it. Some people have lost feeling as in my case due to diabetic neuropathy my legs and feet are numb and don’t feel pain there except rarely.
Ordinarily, my pain threshold is very low, in that, I can not take much pain, whereas my husband tolerates pain very well. On a scale of 1 to 10, his pain tolerance would be a 10 where mine would be a 1.
The doctor always asks me “on a scale of 1-10, how bad is your pain?” I never knew how to answer that question, after all just how bad is BAD? Then one of them defined the pain saying: “…on a scale of 1-10, a 1 being no pain and a 10 “being eaten by a POLAR BEAR!“ Well, when you put it that way it makes it easier to say.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral Neuropathy is “A disease affecting peripheral nerves. Nerve damage could be caused due to several different conditions. Diabetes is the most common cause. The commonly noted symptoms are pain and numbness, muscle problems and problems with body organs….” — Data from Focus Medica. — Reviewed by a panel of doctors
As a result of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, I have lost a fair amount of feeling in my lower legs and feet, and so no one really knew my ankle was broken when I body-slammed 255 lb of body weight into my ankle. It stood to reason that my ankle was broken, but with no pain, the obvious was not apparent.
When we get pain, it alerts us to the fact that something is wrong. Let’s list a few of the things that may be wrong when we get pain
- Sprained or strained muscles
- Fluid around the lungs
- Fluid in the lungs
- Pneumonia or Covid-19
- Malfunctioning installed medical devices (read about this further down in this article)
Lately, I have had pain in my right side in my chest and lung area. It isn’t noticeable when I’m upright- standing or sitting. But when I am lying down, it has been very difficult to roll over in bed without pain. It has been especially painful when I try to get out of bed after sleeping for a few hours. One night I only slept for 4 1/2 hours and once I got up to use the ladies room, I just got dressed because the thought of having to get up again, was too painful to even think about going back to bed.
Last January, our daughter ended up in the hospital with walking pneumonia that nearly cost her her life. This was due to mis-diagnosis because the doctor could not hear anything in her lungs and refused to get an x-ray.
She had to walk out of her doctor’s office FOR THE THIRD TIME THAT WEEK and directly into the Health Clinic next door where she got an X-ray and was sent straight to the ER and spent 5 days in the hospital .
She encouraged me to have my lungs X-rayed just to be sure I wasn’t dealing with something like she had. I have been assured that if it were me or my husband with that case of pneumonia, we wouldn’t have lived through it, Naturally, I got an appointment.
I went to the doctor and the doctor said it wasn’t my lungs. They sounded clear, and he said it was probably just inflammation. He asked if I would like to have an X-ray taken. I asked him if he thought it was necessary. He said “no,” so I agreed that I wouldn’t. After all, he’s the expert, right? He did say “if it gets worse, then come back in and see me.”
When the pain continued to escalate, I decided that maybe we DID need to have my lungs X-rayed just to rule out the possibility of walking pneumonia.
After the lungs were X-rayed, they were pronounced “Clear with No fluid in or around them.” So three questions still exist:
- Why do I still have pain?
- Why is it getting worse?
- What is causing the pain?
Asking Siri for Info
Of course the natural place to go is to Siri and I found several possibilities ranging from inflamation to pneumonia all the way to colon cancer. I have consulted with two Dr friends and gotten different opinions and options.
Being one who “listens to my body” I am always open to alternative options so when my daughter came bearing her Red Light Therapy system, I agreed to try it.
Does Redlight Therapy work?
Her husband’s RA (rheumatoid arthritis) was put into remission using this system. His doctor had recommended it for him. Well, I’ll try it and see if it can help my pain.
To buy this therapy system is over $1,700 and the write-ups about it on the internet are positive.
The system has 4 infrared lights about “4×2” and these lights connect to a box that controls the electrical current. There is even a boot to hold the light on your foot. Each light is placed on the painful areas and then secured to the boot or a belt with velcro to hold it in place. You are not supposed to use them for more than 30 minutes to prevent getting burned.
Well, I tried this once and the pain lessened, and I was able to get out of bed without tears streaming down my face.
My Methuselah like experience has taught me not to make hasty judgments about things like this, so I will end this “experiment” here like a cliff-hanger. In a week, I will let you know if in fact, red light therapy has helped my pain. Until then…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
I am back again with a possible solution to Why My BP and Pulse Were So Low?”
Why the Pain?
First of all, I said I’d report on the Red Light Therapy System. Does it work? Yes, it definitely chases the pain away. I have resorted to using it several times for various pains I have had since this published in September of 2019.
It has been a week later since I said I don’t believe in making hasty decisions, and I have had a harrowing experience I wasn’t even expecting. This popped in, out of the blue, and possibly explains why I have had the pain I have had. No one thought of it, not even one of the three doctors I spoke with.
I kept thinking I needed to have my Boston Science Pacemaker evaluated to check on the life of the battery again, but I was assured by my husband that last time we had it checked, (June of 2018) I still had a couple years of life left on it. So I did nothing.
I woke up Friday, Aug 30th, after having had the pains mentioned above and I was having trouble seeing a complete image of things. It felt like I was dragging my legs to get anywhere.
I had white splotches in all my vision. Only seeing part of an object, not seeing a blackout, but instead, the object was “whited” out. Really strange phenomenon.
My balance was unstable, more than usual. I had a slight headache and was a bit shakey. I wasn’t thinking too clearly. I thought it was Saturday and so I got a shower for an event in a couple of hours later on Sat.. (The truth was it was Friday, so my mind was not thinking clearly either.)
After my shower, I dressed and went into the kitchen to take my Micro Daily Nutritionals. I was so off-kilter that I somehow knew I was going to the hospital for surgery to replace the battery in my pacemaker.
Consequently, I didn’t take my usual shake and only drank a small glass of micronutrients. At that point, I decided to take my blood pressure. It was 65/58 with a pulse of only 55. No wonder I felt so terrible.
Getting an Appointment
I immediately tried to get an appointment to have my pacemaker evaluated to see if the battery had quit. All I could get was the nurse’s answering machine saying “If this is an emergency call 911 etc…” and she was out of the office and would get back to me within 24 hours-but due to Labor Day meant 4 business days, which meant next Tuesday. This was a 4 day weekend.
Well, I couldn’t wait that long. I was failing fast. We hate the long wait at the ER but headed there immediately anyway. Then my husband suggested we go by the Idaho Heart Institute and see if someone could check my pacemaker there.
I tried calling the DR’s office one more time and this time waited for the prompts all the way to “for pacemaker technical support press 4…” and a bright cheery voice of a lively young woman answered saying “Pacemaker technical support”. I explained my predicament and she said for us to come right over and she would see me immediately.
She checked out the pacemaker and immediately said “it’s not your battery, you still have 6 months left on that. You’ll want to come in every two months to be checked just to be sure.”
But Why are my BP and pulse so low?
“Wait.” I said “why is my BP and pulse so low?” and she replied “well there is something else I can check here. Oh, .. …” She picked up her phone and called someone telling them to look at the stats she was getting, and then she said “Yes, what you said” to the person on the line. She obviously didn’t want us to hear what the other person said.
She went out of the room for a minute and then came back in saying the doctor who was available in the office that day was going to come see me. Remember, I did not have an appointment.
We waited a short 10 minutes (which was far less time than we would have waited at the ER) When the doctor took one look at my stats, he quickly left the room giving orders to one person to “call for…… ” and another person to “be sure to do…..” and then he came back in the room and talked a couple seconds and was running out in the hall again.
“Did you get… Are they ready?” We figured he was dealing with other patients while trying to slip me in between them, since I didn’t have an actual appointment with HIM . I had had a doctor like that once and I never really knew when my appointment was over. I hated that kind of doctoring and told my husband so as the doctor exited the room once more.
Finally the doctor returned to the room to stay put saying, “There’s good news and bad news here”
Your Battery Isn’t Dead YET!
“The good news is that your battery isn’t dead YET” he stated. “The bad news is you have a faulty lead wire. It’s either fractured or leaking. It has to be taken care of.”
He explained that since the battery was so near expiring they were going to replace it at the same time.
Whew! I was glad about that! I did not want to have two surgeries to pay for in 6 months. Not to mention the trauma it puts on the body to undergo surgery.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “it’s a 4 day weekend so we are going to repair it NOW.” Today? I asked and he said “NOW.” Then he instructed us to pick up a packet the girls had put together at the nurse’s desk “and take it to the hospital. “Do not stop at the admittance desk. Go straight up to the 4th floor and hand that packet to the nurses at the desk there. They are aware that you are coming and they will take care of you from there.”
He reiterated the fact that we should not speak to admittance, “they will take a lot of time admitting you and we have already taken care of that for you. No, do not go to the ER. Go straight to the forth floor.” He told us who my Doctor would be. He even told me my room number. I realized then that his popping in and out of the room was spent arranging for my admittance to the hospital and talking to the cardiac specialist and surgeon at the hospital who would take over my case.
Did they really get the message?
What a surprise for us to get to the hospital and basically be put on hold. We went in thinking I was going right in for surgery, and the nurses there didn’t even know why I was there. My doctor at the Heart Institute had obviously spoken to the Cardiologist at the hospital and he hadn’t relayed the message to the nurses there.
I was gowned and labs were done, including taking my Blood Sugars, which were at a whopping low of 63. Well of course! I hadn’t eaten anything that morning and it was now 3 pm. With an insulin pump, you keep getting a dose of insulin every hour to keep your sugar levels even for what you may be eating.
Well, I hadn’t eaten ANYTHING, so I was bottoming out there too. The nurses immediately brought me a Turkey sandwich and a glass of Orange Juice and a Lorna Doone cookie. “To heck with the diabetic diet, this girl needs food NOW.”
I asked about the surgery, but they said they didn’t know anything about it, and if I was to have surgery it would be in the morning most likely. They said everyone had gone home in surgery. Besides, there were no doctor’s orders for surgery.
Talk about confusion. I wondered why we were even there. Then the Boston Science tech came in and tuned up my pacemaker and pronounced it working again, so I was as good as new and could probably go home that night. Sooo what about the fractured wire? Well, he had just tuned it out, so the heart wouldn’t hear the noise it was creating. “Really?” I asked.
He left and I continued to eat my turkey sandwich and drink my OJ. Somewhere amid all this chaos, the Cardiac Doctor came in to meet me and informed me they would be up to get me for surgery in a few minutes. Oh wait, they haven’t done your I-V yet? no cath? Well he tuned up the nurses and they quickly obeyed.
You’re trying to get blood out of a turnip?
I swear, that nurse tried to get blood out of a turnip from my arm, because my veins had collapsed due to no food or drink all day. He was so determined to get blood out of the middle of my arm.
He kept saying “Oh, come on. It’s right there. Four, Five, Six times he kept trying the same place. I had always been told lab techs couldn’t try the same place more than 2 times. Even after 3 + weeks, that spot still was bruised. I kept saying “just try my hand. They can always get blood from it.”
I ended up raising my voice at him saying “Oh for Pete’s sake, quit being so stubborn. Just take it from my hand like I told you you’d have to!”
That guy wasn’t about to have a patient know her own body, HE WAS THE NURSE! Even after that, he still attempted to insert that needle into a flattened blood vessel one more time!
A female nurse came in about then and I begged her to try. I said “Can you get blood out of difficult veins?” She said “Of course” and I cried “Oh please, YOU do it!” She went right to my hand and slipped it in the first time.
I learned later I should have fired that male nurse. I’m paying the bill, I can demand another nurse. Yes, we can do that. But when your brain is only half operating, it’s hard to remember a little thing like that.
Once those two jobs were completed, and before very long I was being wheeled down the hall to the elevator and taken to surgery.
Getting Down to Business
Now the surgeon was really feeling good about the coming weekend, Labor Day and all, and invited everyone to go to “C……’s” for dinner after this surgery was over. They joked because he knew they were still on duty and wouldn’t be drinking so it wouldn’t cost him too much.
I was not put to sleep for this surgery, I wasn’t given any anesthetic. Just Percocet to make me not feel anything, because they wanted me to be able to interact with them and to obey certain commands to test the new wire they were putting in.
There were half a dozen people assisting with this procedure including the Boston Science tech. At least these assistants were not talking about their dates last night like happened with my first pacemaker experience nine years previous.
When these people got down to business it was all business. “hand me that screwdriver there.”.. .” take that around one more time.” “dab that blood” etc. I even knew when they were screwing the lead wire into my heart. No, I didn’t say I felt it, I just knew they were doing it and I asked what they were doing.
The procedure was over in about an hour and I was headed back up to my room. I had no more problems with nurses. Lucky for me, that one objectionable nurse went off duty during my surgery.
You can sure tell the difference between a nurse who is just there for the paycheck, and a nurse that truly cares about his/her patients’ comfort and care.
Time has elapsed
It has taken me several weeks to finish this article. I really have had a hard time bouncing back. I have been Sooo tired. Can’t stay awake. Who would have guessed a malfunctioning pacemaker could affect the body so much.
My body pains I was having appear to be entirely related to the heart’s inability to interpret the signals it was being given. Without adequate blood flow to my brain, eyes, and lungs, I was feeling pain in that one lung, not thinking clearly, and vision was affected.
A Change Of Color
My husband knew I was going to be better because he could see the difference in my color when I was wheeled back into my hospital room. He describes it this way. “It’s like you had a worn out Model T Ford and now you have a brand new Cadalac.” The new tecnology gives me an additional 4 years battery life compared to the old one. It should last me at least 11 years instead of 7.
I have given you the details that I have to help you understand the things that can happen with an old pacemaker. Not that you would have the same symptoms as I did, just that your body will tell you threw pain and other symptoms when things are not right.
Again I remind you that pain is often there for a reason, and masking it with painkillers may not be the right solution, especially if you are”bionic” like me with medical devices assisting your body to live.
Thank you for reading this long post.
Please leave your comments below.
DISCLAIMER: I remind you that I am not a medical professional. I am not saying that you will have the same results as I. Should you have unresolved pain or other problems you should contact your doctor for professional care.