Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Tonight was going along just fine until my favorite wife stepped into the family room where I was watching news on television. She asked if I wanted a cracker and I responded, "yes." As she was handing me the box, she let loose with a very loud "oooohh!!!!!" and dropped the box of crackers.

She had just experienced her first "shock" from her internal cardio-defibrillator. She was fine, though quite startled and more than a little scared. I was startled and extremely concerned about her. I had her lie down on the bed and I pushed the button on the bedside machine that "interrogates" her ICD and, after one false attempt, the data in her device was captured and sent off to her physician's office for review.

We then called her doctor's office (neither of us remembered whether we were supposed to). The call-back doctor assured us it was not necessary and said only that we should call the office in the morning so they could have my wife in to determine why she had been shocked. Normally, the call-back doctor said, the devices go off when they are needed, i.e., when the heart's rhythm is not proper and could thus cause sudden cardiac arrest. But not to worry, he said. Call 911 if it goes off again tonight, he said; otherwise, don't sweat it.

If the device was simply working as it should, it saved my wife's life tonight. The purpose is to shock the heart back into a regular rhythym when it gets so badly out of rhythym that the heart is about to suddenly stop beating.

I'm not sure how to feel right now. But I know my eyes are tearing up and I'm shaking and can't seem to stop.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Yikes. The solution sounds as scary as the problem.

Um, maybe lay off the crackers? ;)


KathyR said...

It worked! But, damn, what a way to find out.

Hope things are OK today.

Springer Kneeblood said...

Well, it was an "inappropriate shock." Wasn't supposed to do it. Docs looked at the output from the device and decided there were electrical impulses coming from all over her heart, so device got "fooled." But they want to see her next week to figure out what went awry. And I want to know, too.

bev said...

Agree. Sounds like a pretty scary incident. I would not care much for something that somehow "reminded me" of a problem by giving me a shock. Seems a big counterproductive. Well, I hope all is working right, or that they can get it straightened out. I can quite identify with your response after the fact. It's hard to deal with these life-threatening situations. Take care.