The alarm clock on my cell phone sounded. As I reached to turn it off, I noticed it read 4:00 am. For a moment, I couldn’t fathom why I had set the alarm so early. Then it hit me. Today was the day. Today I was saying goodbye to my old defibrillator and hello to a new one. I was the first scheduled surgery, but living an hours drive from the hospital meant an early rise and a long drive to get there. Fortunately, my fiance, my father, and my step mother would be there with me to keep me company.
The car ride to the hospital was cold and quiet. Thankfully, no snow was falling to make the drive difficult, but the temperatures were cold enough to chill you to the bone. I hunkered down in the back seat of dads car, snuggled close to my fiance, and wrapped myself up with the blanket that I found in the back. As we reached the hospital, the butterflies in my stomach began to flutter. I was anticipating a long wait, but to my surprise, check-in, registration, and getting settled into my private room took no time at all. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. Likely due to the fact I had been through this procedure before. I already had an idea of what to expect. Before long, a nurse came in to roll me on my way to the operating room. A kiss from my fiance, a wave to my parents, and away I went.
As I lay on the operating table, the temperature in the room felt cool. Everyone in the room moved in a perfectly synchronized dance around me, ensuring to fulfill any requests to make me comfortable. The one request I made was to see my old device. Apparently this was an odd request and wasn’t something that patients typically asked for, but they were happy to oblige. Medication was administered through my IV and within minutes, my entire body was relaxed. A drape was then placed above my shoulders and around my head, creating a cozy little tent. The next thing I felt was a cool liquid being wiped across the left side of my chest, followed by a sudden prick of a needle that administered Novocain to the area where the surgeon would cut. It stung and felt warm – it was uncomfortable. Once numb, the surgery would then proceeded. It seemed like only minutes had passed before I felt a hand touch my right shoulder gently. The doctor was holding a small metal object in his hand in front of me to see. “We’re all done Ginny. Here’s your old device!” I heard his voice say. I couldn’t help but smile and feel incredibly blessed. This small, rounded, metal box had given me a chance to live throughout the years without fear of dying. This box was there in order to save my life and it had served its purpose. I couldn’t help but look at it and whisper “Thank You”.
December 28, 2017 – the day I ended the chapter on the last decade of my life and began the next chapter with a new device. For others in my family with heart disease, they weren’t fortunate enough to live past their first chapter. They never had the chance to live past a decade of being a cardiac patient. I, on the other hand, have been fortunate to continue on with hopefully many more chapters to come.
Life is a precious gift. Cherish the chapters you are given for you never know when your book will end.