Today marks three weeks since I had my defibrillator replaced, and I was thinking, wouldn't it be great if recovery from surgery was as easy and delightful as walking down a flowered path? Who am I kidding? This surgery marks is my fifth one since being diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2007, and as far as being in pain and discomfort, this would have to rank as number two behind my Open Lung Biopsy. The first ICD implant was a breeze compared to this replacement and I bounced back from that one really quickly. This one has been a very uncomfortable time.
From what I have read in a couple of places, the ICD replacement is a more painful recovery than the initial implant, and the reason for that being scar tissue. When the first impant is put in, it's in nice fresh tissue, but after seven years in the body, as mine was, scar tissue grows around the device to seal it off, and when you replace it, the doctors have to cut away all the old scar tissue, so the replacement, although technically a much less complicated procedure than the original implant, becomes a more painful recovery.
These three weeks have been a quiet time at work thankfully, and the site has been very uncomfortable, so I was able to take it easy and stay within all of my restrictions of no lifting of anything over 10 pounds etc. Sleeping has not been a problem since I realized that hugging a piloow while sleeping on my right side allows my left arm to stay at a comfortable angle.
Driving has been not a problem, but this weekend I do have to go away for work, a three hour drive, so I will see how the site feels after driving for that length of time. The seat belt thankfully does not pass over the incision area when I adjust it to its highest position.
There are no stiches. The incision is being held together with glue and steri strips, which seem not to be wanting to fall off. I am pretty sure that by now with the first procedure they were starting to come loose, but these just seem to holding on. I guess they improved the glue!
I go in for my first device interrogtion in two weeks and then I guess the doctor will remove the steri strips if they are still on. Until then I will continue to leave them alone and take it easy.