Just when we thought we were clear and weren’t going to have anything else happen relating to Ben’s heart for a while, life comes up with something else.
Guess why that’s why it’s called “life”.
Because you never know what’s next.
You may not know this, but every person who has a pacemaker has a routine yearly checkup on the pacemaker itself. The technician has a device that is put on top of the area where the pacemaker is located and it gives out readings on how the pacemaker is functioning, checking that the settings are still correct, and reviewing its remaining battery life.
Yes, you may remember that Ben has two of them, because when the original one was put in, for some reason it was implanted in such a way that tissue had grown over it so that it couldn’t be replaced. Therefore, when he needed a new one with a defibrillator it had to be implanted on the right side instead of the left, which is the normal location for pacemakers.
Should we have expected anything less?
After two pacemakers, we figured now he was done for a while. The “bionic man” could take a break. For at least 7 years or so until he needed a new battery in this newest one. Well, this will be about five years since the new one was put in.
We never really thought about that, though, and what it entailed.
Until several weeks ago when he had his annual pacemaker checkup.
Everything checked out fine. Until he was told he had about 15 months of battery life left on it.
And how would we know when it needed replacing? Since the technician told him the pacemaker was keeping him alive, that was a fairly important question.
“Let me show you how you’ll know,” she said. And she hit a button on the machine and a beeping noise went off. And it was definitely audible.
“That’s what will happen about 4 months before we need to replace the battery. It’ll do that for about two minutes. And it’ll keep doing it every day until you call our office and come in for us to turn it off. And you’ll make the appointment for the replacement then.”
When I told the story to a friend of ours, he said he could just picture Ben being at a client’s business when it went off and saying, “Excuse me while I take this call” as his chest is beeping! And knowing Ben, he may do just that.
The technician also demonstrated how important it is for the pacemaker to be in good shape by turning it down just for a few seconds. Ben said his whole body suddenly felt limp and exhausted. It was a weird feeling, and one he doesn’t want to experience again.
We assumed he’d just have a simple battery change. But we didn’t know how that would work because we never really thought about it. But we discovered it wouldn’t just be a simple battery change. It was a total pacemaker replacement! And we remembered that last time his doctor tried to replace the one he had, which ended up not being possible because of the way it had been installed, so he ended up with a second device on his right side.
Well, since the same doctor would be doing the replacement, we can only assume he did it so that it’ll be simple to change out.
I guess we’ll find out in about twelve months though.
So stay tuned, because there’s probably going to be more to come before this next procedure.