December 7 is a lot of things.
It’s Pearl Harbor day, the anniversary of the attack that brought the U.S. into World War II, back in 1941.
It’s also the anniversary of my Dad’s first surgery – same day, same year. He was 8 years old.
And it’s the anniversary of my own first surgery too – December 7, 2015. That’s the day I was fitted with an ICD: Internal Cardiac Defibrillator.
That’s right: today is my defibriversary!
Two years I’ve had this little box in my chest – two years in which it has had to do nothing but sit there taking readings. And give me something to warn airport screeners about. And give me a reason not to keep my phone in my shirt pocket, or hang headphones around my neck.
One thing it HASN’T had to do is to defibrillate me.
I had a fresh echocardiogram recently. No surprises and no changes – my numbers are the same as they were two years ago, the same as they’ve been since I was diagnosed in August of 2015. That’s when I found out that the reason I’d been coughing non-stop all summer had nothing to do with my lungs, and everything to do with my heart. Specifically, severe dilated cardiomyopathy. Sounds bad, right? Well, it’s not really about numbers, it’s about quality of life, and I can’t really complain about that these days.
It’s been more than two years now since I found out I have it. Most likely I’ve had it for at least twice that long – I can track early symptoms at least as far back as December of 2013. December 10, specifically, so almost exactly four years now. I remember coughing uncontrollably through an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable Mike Keneally Band set and a wonderful Dismemberment Plan reunion set, during that week’s work trip to San Francisco.
At the time, I thought the coughing was caused by too long a walk up and down too many of the city’s hills with my luggage, on the way to my hotel on the chilly night I’d arrived.
Hindsight sometimes changes old assumptions.
It’s been four years since that work trip to San Francisco, and two since I got this little metal thing installed. I don’t think about it much, sometimes I forget it’s there. Then a cat steps on it while I’m lying in bed and I remember very quickly.
But it’s just been sitting there, minding its own business, for two years, and I’m thankful for that. Hopefully we can keep this streak going for a good long time.
Happy defibriversary, everyone!