Like all things requiring batteries, the lives of those batteries eventually comes to an end. Even those that are rechargeable will eventually wear out, will refuse to take a charge, and become useless. Just as our cell phones vibrate or blink to indicate when it’s time to charge them, so does the life saving device that I, like other patients with defibrillators (ICD) or pacemakers, have implanted in my chest to warn me that the battery has little life left.
Recently, after a typical day of working and hitting the gym, I came home and sat down to relax for a few minutes before heading into the kitchen for dinner. While checking emails on my phone, I felt an incredibly strong vibration running through my arm and chest. I quickly laid my cell phone down, only to realize it wasn’t the phone that was vibrating at all, it was the object inside of my chest – It was my ICD!! What a strange feeling to have!! It didn’t cause any pain, but it certainly got my adrenaline pumping (and kept waking me up for the few nights that followed). Having been to the cardiac device center a few months prior, I was informed that my devices battery was in fact getting low. Before long, I should expect to have my device replaced. I was also told the unit may begin to vibrate before my next appointment, a time for me to meet my new surgeon. Go figure – just days before this appointment was to take place, the vibrations in the device began. Unlike a cell phone, the batteries in these types of devices can’t be recharged. No plugging ourselves into the nearest outlet and waiting for the battery indicator to read full. Just as a check engine light that comes on to warn a driver that the car is close to running out of gas, these warning vibrations are an indication that its time to have the device replaced as the batteries are close to running out.
So, for Christmas this year, while many will be opening gifts, filling them with fresh new batteries to play with and enjoy, I too will be equipped with new ones as well. Ones that will keep my device running and allowing me to enjoy my life for more years to come.