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April 1, 2011

Do You Want Surgery on April Fool's Day?

Author: JenniferMaster1

So what jokes are played on you for April Fool’s day?

What if a doctor told you that you would need to go on medication for atrial fibrillation and just in case that would drop your heart rate, you should have a pacemaker put in on April Fool’s day?

My beautiful mother just turned 80 years old on March 26th.  My brother and I had a big party for her where 90-100 people came to celebrate.

Four days later mom fell in the elevator at her apartment building. She doesn’t know if she stumbled on her feet or passed out. However, she hit the right side of her face and her right knee as she fell and must have tried to catch herself because her right hand’s palm was bruised.

After many tests at the hospital, the cardiologist concluded that she should have a pacemaker put in. He said she would need medication for the atrial fibrillation she has. Since that may drop her heart rate dramatically, he recommended putting a pacemaker in for more of a preventative measure.

Mom’s internal medicine doctor from another city looked at the medical tests and concluded there was no emergency or proof that showed her heart rhythm dropping dangerously low. The cardiologist at the hospital said it had dropped to 40 while she was sleeping, but he admitted that could be considered normal.

The cardiologist and her other treating physician at the hospital strongly recommended she have the pacemaker put in the day after being admitted to the hospital because the cardiologist would be going on vacation for two weeks. But do we really need to rush this?

My cousin is a nurse for mom’s internal medicine doctor, and she said that over 500 patients were on coumadin (a blood thinner) for atrial fibrillation and had no problem with their heart rates dropping dangerously low.  She was very firm in telling the cardiologist that we would be getting a second opinion!

Mom is home with me now so she can be closely cared for. However, she is quite self-sufficient, and it might drive us both crazy! She will be going to an electrophysiologist the first of next week for that second opinion. Typically, a pacemaker implant is a quick, easy surgery, and I’m sure we would vote for that if there appears to be stronger evidence that it’s needed. But why should an 80-year-old be subjected to something unnecessary?

I’m just glad she’s not having surgery on April Fool’s day and am grateful for the option of second opinions!

How much do you trust medical opinions, and have you ever gotten a second opinion?

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2 Responses to “Do You Want Surgery on April Fool's Day?”

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi! Joining you from twitter via blogboost.

    My mother-in law has gotten second opinions for her medical issues, so it’s very important to do so, I believe. I’ve heard of people going to multiple doctors until they feel satisfied with the results. It’s tricky, because we expect doctors to be “all knowing” when in reality, patients can be just as smart, if not more!
    I hope your mom gets better! take care! Lisa

  2. tarot says:

    I hope you update this blog often because I’m anxious to read more.