Coming Home Pt II

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Lemme see now, where was I?   Oh yes, I remember – I think.  All seemed well, but then ………


All was well that first day.  The only problem I had:  being firmly directed to a life without physical activity for 4 to 6 weeks.  That my be a welcome excuse for not mowing the lawn or washing the car, but for me, it was being sentenced to boredom.

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The second day, I developed some severe chest pains – severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.  A CT-Scan (and a few pain killers) later, a blood clot was discovered in one of my lungs.

No problem.  I received a six-month prescription for blood thinners and was assured that the clot would dissolve without any additional clots forming. This was a “one in a million” occurrence.

I was satisfied, now that the pains had truly subsided, and I returned to the “resort.  The formation of the blood clot couldn’t be explained, so it was “wait and see”  from then on out.  And, during the first two weeks of waiting, everything looked great.


cominghomeOnce again, the chest pains reappeared after two weeks.  This time, they were MAJOR; much more intense than the previous episode.  I wondered if I was having a heart attack – how ironic that would have been.

Back to the emergency room, and more CT-Scans and, this time, x-rays.  The diagnosis wasn’t pleasant – the pacemaker lead inserted into the upper chamber of my heart, somehow, had been unseated and was piercing the tissue of my heart.  A “one in ten-million” catastrophe had occurred.

The hospital where this diagnosis occurred wasn’t set up to handle this situation.  I was transported – via a somewhat painful and bumpy ambulance ride – to the major hospital in town, and immediately placed in the intensive care unit.

The cardiologists at this hospital would re-seat the errant lead, and all would be well.  Or so everyone thought.  The first of three trips to the operating room ended without success.  The lead itself was faulty in its manufacture, refused to be re-seated, and would have to come out.


It was back to the operating room after a day or two.  The cardiologist had the “big time heart operating team” in the room with us standing by, just in case things didn’t go well and I “had to be cracked open.”  The concern was internal bleeding while on blood thinners.

That’s the last clear memory that I have of the next five days.  Apparently, the errant lead refused to exit via the door it entered, so it had to be removed via a large blood vessel running through the area of my groin.  Things didn’t go so well.

When I regained some form of consciousness, I found myself with a few new annoying pains, and a tube sticking out of my left side.  I asked what was happening, but had to wait.  My resting pulse rate was hovering around 40 ppm, and the folks with the answers were too busy trying to fix that.

I sort of learned in the haze that the errant lead had been removed and my pacemaker was working with just the single lead to a lower chamber.  The removal was difficult and, in the process, half of my left lung collapsed.  Thus, the tube.

I also learned that life’s balance got a little shaky at that point, as well.  Those working on me worked their magic and I was able to revive (versus the alternative).  At any rate, all that was left to do was to insert a brand new lead.

—– To be continued —–

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Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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5 years ago

The ‘lead’ was faulty?
Manufacture defect.!?

Did they run out of stock of the non defective ones?


5 years ago

It was a “one-in-a-million” occurrence, Bob. The lead was physically faulty – either too “springy” or too “flacid” to do its job properly. The doctors never told me which was the case, they only mentioned that it was physically defective and needed to be replaced.

Some one was bound to receive the faulty lead, some day. Guess I drew the lucky number. From what I was told, one can’t tell a lead is bad until it’s been placed in action.

5 years ago

Paul take care of your self

I need you to keep the IRS away form me I hope everything works out for you

Best Regards



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