A bit more progress to report. My husband Don went to the cardiologist’s office yesterday for his two month check on the ICD (Inter-cadiac device, I think. It’s his pacemaker/defibrillator). The technician who checked it said it looks fabulous, and according to the computer chip in the device, he has had no event since it was installed. He told us that the device is stabilized now, and Don has no more restrictions on his movements. i.e. he can now raise his arm over his head and reach backward with it. He can also sleep on his side, if he wants. I asked him this morning if he tried to sleep on his left side, and he said that he had, a bit, but the tubes coming out of his back are really what keeps him from rolling around too much.
The tech told us that in a couple of weeks we should be receiving a monitoring device in the mail . It looks like a small box, and has a wireless receiver. Every night, at 3 a.m., the monitor communicates with the chip in his ICD and makes a record of its activity. Then, once every 3 months, we are supposed to hook the monitor up to a phone jack, and it will call the cardiologist’s office and transmit Don’s information to him. If everything checks out like it’s supposed to, Don doesn’t need to physically go see the doctor more than once a year. Oh, brave new world!
The home health nurse came by this morning to change the dressings around his tube insertion sites. She said the sites still look very good, and considering the fact that he’s had his back-piercings for nearly three months and had the tubes replaced twice, he has had remarkably little trouble with them – not much weeping from the wounds and no irritation or pain. May they stay that way, for what we dearly hope is the very little time remaining that he’ll have to have the things stuck into him. Incidentally, Don just walked in here as I’m typing this, hoisted his shirt and said, “what do you make of this?” Seems the nurse stuck one of his dressings on in such a way that the tube comes out toward the front (pointing to his side), and the other comes out to the back (pointing to his spine). This may give him some sleeping problems. Not to fear. I think I can adjust the spine-pointer with some surgical tape in such a way it’ll be tolerable for him. Such things we have to deal with!
And finally, when we were at the heart doctor’s office, I asked the tech the question that we have been wondering about ever since the ICD was implanted. Will Don ever die?
It occurred to us early on that if he fell off a cliff or got crushed by a safe, the defibrillator might keep trying to shock his heart back into action. And truth be told, there will come a time when he won’t consider that such a good thing.
And the answer is that, yes, he’ll be able to give up the ghost at the appropriate moment. The tech said that the ICD looks for very specific things before it goes into action, and flatlining is not one of them. The hour of his death is between Don and his maker, the tech assured us, and not the Medtronic Medical Device Company.
Don’s second attempt at breaking up one of his embedded kidney stones is this Friday. We were originally scheduled to go in at 5-blinking-30 in the morning, but the doc’s scheduler called last week and told us to come in at 9:30 instead. Don takes that as a very good omen.