I don’t really fancy the semiannual checkup. Simply because it takes time and because I’ll be outside again in 5 minutes as there is nothing going on with me. Actually that is nothing to grumble about..! In the waiting room I realize it’s a special day today. I have had my S-ICD for 6 years now, and I might be told today that it’s time for a box change.
Back then my cardiologist told me that the battery would last for about 5 years. So, pretty good, all in all, as the battery seems to last longer than promised. Clearly, as it’s been 6 years since!! That’s pretty sensational when I compare it with the battery of my cellphone. That battery always lasts a lot shorter than promised by the manufacturer ☺.
Great, it’s my turn. And yes, once the S-ICD is read out, I’m told that the battery is still good to go, but we’re going to schedule its change-out nonetheless. It’s also good to know that the “lead” will stay in place. Only the “box” will be changed. Take out the old one, put in the new one. A very simple procedure, all in all. The ICD nurse tells me that the S-ICD may start to beep before long, as a warning that the battery is getting low. But I don’t need to worry about that. The battery has ample spare capacity to safely last through the coming months. I can hear myself telling my mountain bike friends coming weekend: ‘Guys, don’t panic if I start to beep. Nothing to worry about.’ That’ll be fun.
When I reflect on the past 6 years, I feel relieved. Who would ever have thought, 6 years ago, that things would run so smoothly. Of course I’d rather not have needed a defibrillator, but fairly soon after the implantation I could pick up the pace of my normal life like before the operation. I would never have thought that before. I went back to work again and I kept mountain-biking, kite surfing, windsurfing and skiing as fanatically as ever. I am so glad that back then I was given a choice between a “traditional” ICD, where the lead is inserted into the heart, and the S-ICD, where the lead (wire) does not go into the heart. By choosing for the S-ICD I have never needed to worry about a vulnerable lead in the heart, which also needs to be changed in due course. The S-ICD simply is a far sturdier system, which better befits someone with an active lifestyle. Both my sister and my cousin have an S-ICD as well, and share the same positive experience as I have had
So, six years ago, just a few months after the implantation, I already decided that I would opt for an S-ICD again once the battery would be depleted. Next week they will call me to make an appointment for the box change. And I’m not worried one bit!