I have a heart condition that has not affected my life very much. I am on no medication, but my heart is enlarged. Yet, I can go on eight-mile hikes with Douglas and not feel any effects of the heart disease. But, I am slowing down these days and so fatigued that some days I don’t feel like writing my blog, which I love doing.
So I saw the cardiologist today, and he has changed his tune about my needing a defibrillator with the pacemaker I already have. I have fought against having one of these for several reasons. My son had one, and when it engaged, the pain was horrendous, knocking him to his knees. Also, I worry that it will go off prematurely. And I admit that I am just plain scared of placing something so powerful in my chest.
I told the doctor these things this morning, but, being more practical than emotional, he reminded me that the alternative, meaning not having the defibrillator when my heart stops, could be fatal. He makes a good argument!
When I pass one of the portable defibrillators at the airport, I am always glad that they are there, if someone needs help quickly. And you see them in other well-traveled places, like at my gym. The focus is on saving lives in situations where that was nearly impossible before. And of course, there is nothing that says that my heart would conveniently stop only at the airport or the gym!
It will mean an alteration to my thinking, but it could also save me from premature death. It isn’t like I would be missing out on anything, as I could still travel and do everything I do now. I will need to be sure that wherever we go, I know where the best medical service is located.
I will get a second opinion, as I have learned to do on nearly any medical procedure. In 1986, I had two unnecessary major surgeries, and I have become my own advocate, losing the belief instilled in me as a child that doctors always know best and don’t make mistakes. They are human beings capable of making errors just like us regular folks.
So, next month, I will see a surgeon about the defibrillator. As much as I hate the thought of it, I am sensible enough to know that at age, my heart may need help. But, I also believe in the words of Job 14:5, “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.”
Only God knows the length of our days. I know that I want to live each day I am gifted to the fullest, and for as long as I can, with a good quality of life. I will have to learn not to concentrate on the defibrillator or stress myself that at any moment, it may go off and scare the dickens out of everyone around me. People live with them every day, in every sense. I just must be brave.