Author + information
Heart failure was not a part of our retirement plan! We retired in Florida and immediately moved to Texas to be near our daughter and 2 grandsons. The youngest was 2 years of age and having 100 seizures a day, so we helped with him for several years until he was seizure free. He’s now 14 and a normal teenager with no aftereffects from the seizures.
Now, we thought we would travel and do some fun things, but then suddenly my husband, Duane, started having shortness of breath, lethargy, balance problems, and other symptoms. He was admitted to the hospital 5 times in 3 months with heart failure, and I stayed with him each time.
Hospital cots are not very comfortable, but I wanted to be there for the doctor visits in the early morning. During those 3 months, there were several times when I thought I would have to call our other daughter in Pennsylvania to come to Texas to tell her dad goodbye. Each time, he rallied. The doctor was trying different medicines, but either they made him sick or they didn’t work. It was helpful that I was retired because I could never have held a job and taken care of Duane at the same time. At the last hospital visit, it was decided to give him a pacemaker/defibrillator and make some more medicine changes. This time the medicine balance was correct, and we felt better with the defibrillator added to the pacemaker.
Two months later, our cardiologist, Dr. Ahmad Khan, called with news about a new device that could be implanted in Duane’s pulmonary artery called the CardioMEMS HF System, and he thought Duane would be a perfect candidate. It measures the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and is an early indicator that his heart failure is getting worse. We agreed, and this device has given us great peace of mind, and I need that, as I am a worrier.
Four years later, Duane’s medications are regulated, the implants are working fine, and I’m a wife again and not a caregiver. Duane lies on the special pillow that is part of the CardioMEMS HF System every day to take a reading that is transmitted to the heart failure clinic to ensure he’s doing well, and that gives us peace of mind. We take summer vacations at the beach with our family and do normal everyday activities while entrusting the monitoring of the devices to our doctor and the heart failure clinic. Life is good!
Please note: The author has reported that she has no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
- 2018 American College of Cardiology Foundation