fragile life

Most People Don’t Need Pacemakers Until Retirement Age. I Had To Get One At 26.

The author's post-operation picture.

The author’s post-operation picture.

The author’s post-operation picture.

In my mid-20s, I was feeling unusually tired and anxious. I found myself starting to fall asleep on the bus home from work each day, and sometimes I felt a strange fluttering sensation in my chest and needed to take slow, deep breaths to calm down. 

Since I was young and previously healthy, I figured it was probably just a hormonal imbalance, or maybe a vitamin deficiency. My doctor initially agreed, but after noticing I had an “unusual heart rate,” he added heart health to the list of potential culprits and told me I needed an echocardiogram. 

This was enough to send panic running through me. My dad had lived with multiple heart conditions from birth and spent much of his childhood in and out of the hospital for operations. After I was born, his condition worsened, forcing him to take early

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