anniversaries

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog, I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. I remember my first blog post, and how nervous I was to have people read my thoughts. As I read back on my first post, I think how much I have changed since then. I am no longer nervous about people reading my thoughts, it’s been a challenging road this journey I am taking but all for the good.

In the past few weeks I have had some tough one year “anniversaries”. Obvious, major one was the one year the day of my collapse. I know I have said I am no longer afraid, which is true I am not, but I did have some emotions to work through. I’m not going to lie, the day was emotional, I had moments when I would be laughing or crying. I would cry because I was so lucky to have been at the right place at the right time. I would cry because I was sad to know that my loved ones who were at the “scene” will never forget. I would laugh, remembering some of my story and how there were some funny moments. Like when I was upset the lifeguards ripped my favourite shirt and for everyone to see me in the open, when clearly it was important or when DC bought a movie for us to watch in the hospital, to keep our spirits up and seeing two men cry. Every time I see the cover of that movie I smile and think of DC and K, how they both were trying to make things better for me.

The next anniversary was the day they put the ICD in, I wasn’t all that emotional for that but it was an anniversary. Next one was the day I thanked the lifeguards. I still think of them everyday, again I know it was their “job” but they will always be a part of my life and I will always thank them for doing their job.

Another major anniversary was the death of my Dad. I was in a different kind of mood that day. I would try not to think about it but then I would have moments when I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How it went so fast and I wasn’t there in “time” to say goodbye. I said I didn’t have any regrets, but that isn’t true. The one and only regret, I have by not being there in time to say goodbye is, I wanted him to know I was okay, in person. I know he knew I collapsed and I was okay but I wished he could have seen me before he left. I know he is in a better place and I only hope he is happy.

I will always have anniversaries, we all do. The trick is how we deal with them and remember those who have touched our lives makes us stronger.

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for granted

I know everyone has taken things for granted.  You all know it’s true, we have all done it. It can’t be helped! We just tend to forget what is important until one day something or someone has affected your life somehow to remember.

As you know, I am learning to live with this ICD everyday. I have read my “manual” so many times to make sure what I am allowed to do and not allowed. I am finding it difficult because I am constantly trying to remember what items have magnets in them.    Magnets????   Yes I said magnets….

I didn’t realize how many things have magnets inside them.

In my “manual” it reads;

General Precautions

Any electrical equipment, appliance, or machine that you use should be in good working order and should be properly grounded. Do not carry magnets or products containing magnets close to your ICD. Avoid holding motor-driven appliances and machine-shop tools closer than necessary to your implant site. When working with tools or appliances, be careful in situations where you could be injured if you become dizzy or receive a therapeutic shock from your ICD. (in a nutshell everything must be properly grounded)

Home Appliances

Assuming they are in good condition and properly grounded, the following items are safe to operate:

Kitchen appliances, including microwave ovens, can openers, blenders, toasters, electric knives. Televisions, VCRs, personal computers, AM/FM radios, remote controls, garage door openers. Major appliances, including washers and dryers, electric stoves, refrigerators, etc. Electric blankets, heating pads.

Avoid holding the following items closer than necessary to your ICD

Hand-held appliances with motors, such as hair dryers and shavers, light shop equipment, such as drills, table saws etc. Transmitters for radio-controlled equipment or toys.

It is generally safe to work around spark-ignited internal combustion engines, such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, automobiles, etc but limit your exposure to ignition-system parts when they are in operation.

Office Equipment

Most office equipment is safe to operate as long as it is properly grounded and in good working order. This includes computers, electric typewriters, fax machines, pagers and copiers.

Security Systems

Metal detectors and anti-theft systems used in airports, stores and other locations create electromagnetic fields that can interfere with your ICD. Anti-theft systems or Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems such as those used at the entrance/exits or checkout counters of stores, libraries, banks, etc. emit signals that may interact with ICDs. To minimize the possibility of interaction, just walk through the entrances/exits of these establishments at a normal pace and do not linger in these areas. Metal detectors; walking through the metal detector archway will not harm your ICD, however be sure to pass through the archway at a normal pace and avoid lingering in the immediate area. Your ICD has metal inside that may set off the airport security system alarm. If a search with a hand held wand is performed you should stress to the security personnel that the search should be performed quickly and that they should avoid holding the wand over your ICD for a prolonged period.

Industrial Equipment

Large industrial equipment, such as generators and electric motors often generates strong electromagnetic fields that can interfere with your ICD. Avoid standing near large motors or other electromechanical equipment. Make sure that the equipment is properly grounded before working near it.

Medical Equipment

Although most medical equipment will have no effect on your ICD, some may affect its function. Always tell the doctor or nurse that you have an ICD.

The list keeps going on and on, I am not going to type everything and I think you get the picture.

These are a few things that I have taken for granted:

1. When I would go to the airport. Whenever I would go somewhere I didn’t think twice about the security portion of walking through the scanner. Well now, even thou the “manual” says I can go through the archway, my Doctor suggested I didn’t go through because my ICD can set off the alarm. So now I have a pat down every time I go. I have this lovely bright red laminated card that says in capital letters: I HAVE AN IMPLANTABLE DEFIBRILLATOR that I have to carry with my passport. I have learned to appreciate the security personnel more because they have to do their job to make sure we are all safe and yes sometimes it is annoying and takes up time, but I would rather take the time to make sure we are all safe. So the next time you go to the airport and see someone get a pat down try to remember that it’s for your best interest and that it’s not all that fun for the person who is being pat down either.

2. The cell phone. Yes, the cell phone haha. I had to train myself not to use my cell phone on my left ear, it can interfere with my ICD. I also had my cell phone in my purse that I carried on my left side. It was just natural for me to wear it there. But since the implant I was told that I wasn’t allowed to have my cell phone near my ICD. I know this might sound silly but I know you ladies out there will understand, when you have worn your purse on the same side since you started wearing a purse and you put it on the opposite side?? WELL!! that was just so hard for me to get used to! It’s been 10 months since I had my implant, and I have gotten used to wearing my purse on the “right” side now. I even tried wearing my purse on the left side (without the cell phone inside) and it felt weird! haha guess after wearing my purse on the opposite side for 10 months isn’t so bad after all! Oh! Ear phones are another that I cannot have dangling around my neck it can interfere with my ICD. As I said the list goes on! and this is why I said it is difficult to remember all these things but I know in time I will remember what will interfere and what won’t.

I am trying everyday to live “normally” but some days are hard when you know things may just put you in a position you don’t want to be in.


difficult but healing

I know, I thanked the lifeguards for saving my life back in February, but I got a call on May 9th from the BC Ambulance Services letting me know that they were giving the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, and to the person who called 911 the Vital Link Award. I was so happy they were going to give them recognition for saving me. The spokesperson told me the ceremony was the following week and wanted to know if I could attend. I really wanted to see them all get the award. I told the spokesperson that I would get back to her by Friday. I had such mixed emotions during the phone call because of the questions they asked in case I wasn’t able to attend, and told me the media would be there. I know that the media wanted to show the community how proud they were of the Lifeguards, and Paramedics but it was just very overwhelming knowing they were going to be there.

I talked with DC and he thought it would be great to see the Lifeguards again since the last time was emotional. Not that it wouldn’t be emotional again but it may help me feel this way of thanking the Lifeguards/Paramedics could help me move on. I talked with my brother K, he said that if I couldn’t attend he would go on my behalf, but thought it would be good for me to come as well. I even asked my Therapist if it would be in my best interest to go. If I could handle it emotionally. She thought that it was wonderful that they were going to give them recognition for their actions, and asked me how I felt.  I told her I thought it was wonderful too, and wanted to be there. That I was thankful too. But I was really nervous because the last time I went to thank them, I had 2 ATP’s before I had even entered the building!! I didn’t want to be so emotional that my ICD would shock me. Dr. H said to remember about letting all the emotions out, not to hold it in, so that it wouldn’t get my heart rate up. It’s something that I am still learning to do. After I had talked with everyone, I knew I had to be there.

On May 15th I flew to BC to be at the award ceremony the next day. It was difficult to leave DC this time because the last time I left him I almost didn’t come back. DC reassured me, told me not to worry (DC couldn’t attend the ceremony) and I would be alright. Even thou I am sure DC at the time was worried too.  I even remember how scared I was flying that day. We had a bit of turbulence, and I remember thinking to myself “calm down S, don’t panic, don’t get your heart rate up!” I didn’t want to have a shock on the plane! I know it was minor turbulence but when you are nervous you think the worst haha.

K, M and I went to the Rec Centre for the ceremony and I couldn’t believe how many people were there! I wasn’t expecting that many people, I figured there was just going to be the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, the person who called 911, BC Ambulance Services and the Media. But there were Paramedics, Lifeguards, staff, family, the Radio and the Media. It was overwhelming, but it was great to see all these people who come to see them get the recognition they deserved!

I was really proud of myself, I only cried once when they talked about my story. After the ceremony was over, I met with one of the Paramedic that attended to me that day. (I didn’t meet the Paramedics when I thanked the Lifeguards back in February). She was more emotional than I was! She thought it was wonderful to see I was doing well! She said in all her 18yrs of being a Paramedic, I was the second person she helped save, survive. I was really happy for her knowing she helped me too. I even met one of the Lifeguard’s family member, and I told them how thankful I was for their daughter that day. The Media asked if I would give them a quote and picture of me with the Paramedic and Lifeguards. I decided to let them have a picture and quote because it would make this story complete. When I left the Rec Centre that day, I felt so good! Like weight had lifted off my shoulders knowing they all got recognition and another way of saying THANK YOU. Having this ceremony for the all the people that day made me know I could start healing………………………….