Throughout her life, Tina Crouch has maintained an active lifestyle both at work and home. After she retired, Crouch experienced a drop in energy making her feel rundown and unable to do routine tasks. Testing revealed that a pacemaker was needed to restore her quality of life.
Crouch shared that one of her goals after leaving workplace was to get back into shape through a regiment of walking with friends and neighbors. She aimed to lose weight through the exercise program, but weeks went by without noticeable results.
“I started slowly where I didn’t have much stamina and worked my way up to where I was walking about three miles about five times a week,” Crouch said. “Looking back I can remember telling my husband I ought to be getting better. I lengthened the number of miles that I walked but I didn’t feel like I was getting more stamina or lowering my time, but I kind of passed that off.”
The lack of energy became noticeable as she stopped for lunch on the way home from a family trip. Crouch fainted and lost consciousness at a restaurant.
She attributed the cause of this incident to undereating. Over time, though, Crouch noticed that if she didn’t eat regular or remain hydrated, she would run out of energy very quickly. Family members convinced her to take the next step and to consult with a physician.
“I went, and I saw my primary care physician. She ran a few tests and one of which was an EKG and it showed abnormality. I still was not concerned about that because my EKGs for the last 20 years had the same blip on it,” Crouch remembered. “I usually have had them (the blip) getting ready for surgery, and they (doctors) didn’t think it was anything that would keep me from having surgery. They never recommended for me to look into it further. So I didn’t. She took it quite bit more seriously then I did.”
Crouch stated that numerous tests were done along with an appointment to see a cardiologist. In her visits to the doctor symptoms, she was experiencing would not show up in the tests but her health continued to decline. Some days she would feel like her usual self. Others days it was difficult to get around and to do small tasks.
“I had numerous tests in Waxahachie as well as big Baylor. I had an angiogram as one of the final tests. It showed my arteries were all clear. They just said let's just monitor you and see how things go in another three to six months,” Crouch recalled. “By this time I was unsteady. When my husband and I went into the HEB in Waxahachie most of the time, I could not grocery shop. I would have to sit and wait. I would be out of breath. I would get dizzy.”
Crouch told the doctor they needed to continue with the testing to find because her health was slowly getting worse.
The final test she had performed was the Holter test. The Mayo Clinic website states that in this test a wearable monitor is used to keep track of a person heart rhythm. The monitor records heartbeats and a patient wears it one or two days. If the standard monitor does not work, a wireless one is for weeks. The data is then used to see if a heart rhythm problem is present.
The testing indicated that Crouch had Bradycardia, which is when a person’s heart rate is too slow. The American Heart Association website states this condition is present when an adult has a heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute. It also says that what is too slow depends on a person’s age and physical condition.
The test showed that Crouch had a resting heart rate in the low 40s and the low 30s at night. Within a few days of the test, she was scheduled to have a pacemaker installed. A pacemaker is a device placed under the skin in a person’s chest to help control the heartbeat.
Crouch stated that she and her husband, Joe, thought the problem was along the lines of being pre-diabetic or hypoglycemic but nothing heart-related. The reasoning behind that was Crouch would always feel much better after eating and she would have an immediate boost of energy.
“By this time we had been on the hunt for months trying to figure it out. I had been getting steadily worse and worse,” Crouch said. “So I was I ready for a solution, and I was glad that it was on that was easily fixable.”
Crouch recalled that after the operation she felt a noticed change in her energy level. Her family could tell the difference her appearance with color returning to her face and the change is still present today.
She advises people if they have a lingering health problem to have it looked at by a professional and not let it linger. Ignoring an issue only compounds it.
I’m doing fantastic. Like I said it is a new life. In my younger years if I wanted to do something and if you were tired you would just push through it,” Crouch shared.
“It took me a while to listen to my body and say, ‘hey you definitely have an issue and you need to identify what it is and take the appropriate steps.’ Once I got my mind wrapped around that I was able to march forward.”
She added in addition to listing to your body and its signs advises people to live a healthy lifestyle by being staying active and eating right.