This week has the 100th frame in it!
This episode deals with the first time I received a real shock from my defibrillator. I remember getting it installed into my chest under my right clavicle. Normally they go under the left clavicle since that is a shorter distance to the heart where the two sensor strings will go, but being a lefty I asked to have it on the right to minimize strain and movement restriction on my main hand. After the surgery my shoulder was purple and blue and my arm was in a sling. I can’t remember if I had to stay overnight at the hospital but I think not. On the evening when I came home from the surgery I laid in bed reading the manual to the defibrillator and for some reason it felt really absurd to read a manual for such a serious medical device.
Either way, the manual talked about the different levels of shock that would be administered depending on the severity of the heart failure. For people who don’t know (and why should you?) the defibrillator sits in your body, monitoring your heart. If the heart starts beating slower than the pace you programmed it to, it will make it beat faster with the help of small electric shocks (like a pacemaker). If the heart starts galloping faster than the defibrillator was programmed to, it shocks the heart back into normal pace. It is the same procedure as you see on TV shows and movies about hospitals, where the nurse has two clothing iron-looking things in their hands that they put on the passed out patient’s chest and scream “Clear!” The manual told me that the highest level of shock administered felt like a horse kicked you in the chest! What a great evening read! The consolation was that apparently at that point, you’re in such a bad shape that you’ve already passed out. Phew… I guess.
The shock that happened in this episode was luckily the most severe I had to experience during my time wearing it, but it was enough. The best way to explain how it felt is “like being electrocuted”. I think I did a small jump on my bike and let out an involuntary “ugh!!!”. I could feel it in my jaw and all of the body. It really did feel like it came from the inside. After, I got off the bike, tried to calm down and walked very slowly the rest of the blocks home. My transplant buddy Mike said he got shocked constantly in the month before he had his surgery. I can’t imagine the edge he must have been on, walking around knowing he could have that terrible thing happen to him at any time throughout the day.
Have a great week everyone and thanks for coming here!