Written by a support group member
A little while back I had to have my ICD battery / box changed and so I thought I might share my experiences…..
First off – I AM NOT A GOOD PATIENT!!
I never used to be like this, in real life I’m bright and breezy but since my heart rhythm problem manifested itself I’ve found that the slightest change in my health triggers alarm bells and I start to panic….
I find the ICD check up an unpleasant experience.
It only takes a few minutes for the Physiologists to run their checks but it always makes me feel vulnerable.
The ICD checks are important. The team are able to monitor heart health and viability of the device.
It was at one such visit that I was told that the battery was running low and I would require a box change, consequently I could expect to receive a hospital letter within a few weeks to arrange a pre-op check and admission date to the day hospital.
Ridiculous but I had a horrible thought that the battery would go flat before any appointment had been made!
A week or two later my letter arrived and I made my way to the day unit.
The nurse that I had contact with was lovely. He talked me through what might be expected on the day. My temperature, blood pressure, pulse and bloods were also obtained. They were aware of my medications and I was advised about whether or not I could take them on the day.
All I could think of after that appointment was that I wanted to get the procedure over and done with as quickly as possible.
The big day arrived and after a light breakfast I travelled to the day clinic. The department was very busy and bed shortages meant that some patients had to return home, luckily I was allocated a bed, introduced to the nurse who would be taking care of me and then had a visit from the doctor who explained the pro’s and con’s of a device change after which I signed the consent form.
Before my visit to theatre I received an intravenous antibiotic infusion and this was administered to minimise the potential risk of infection….
My feet are always cold!!
I recalled that before I underwent an angiogram a few years previously I was warned me that the theatre would feel cold and if it made me more comfortable I could wear my bed socks!!!
Such a little thing – but what a difference!
I’m glad to say that I remembered that bit of advice and I’m really glad that I did. The theatre did feel very cold and the bed socks were very welcome.
The staff, as always, were fantastic. The worst bit for me was having to lie flat on the trolley. The fact is though that there was so much activity going on around me I didn’t really have time to fret.
Those meds are just sooo relaxing……
image copied from puffun.com
Next thing I recall is arriving back on the unit and enjoying a well sweetened cup of tea without a care in the world.
A short while later the Physiologist came down with the little machine to check that everything was OK and I was allowed home.
Apart from feeling that I had a small egg stuck in my chest I felt great and within 2- 3 days was definitely back to my normal self. My wound which was an extension of my original wound healed very quickly……
I’m sure that I will experience the same anxiety next time…..but it does good to share and if anyone out there has similar experiences please let us know.
REMEMBER…There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with anxiety and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) can offer advice via leaflet to help you cope with these feelings as can your GP and / or ICD nurse specialist.