With my battery change behind me – a bit of unnecessary “excitement” amid the chaos of COVID19 – this cyborg is now powered by “rechargeable” batteries with a shelf life of up to 15 years. Yes! The much-welcome reprieve until my next battery change surgery is counterbalanced by the daunting reality of weekly charging sessions.
My bedroom has been transformed into a “recharging studio.” Each neurostimulator has its own charging equipment pack that hardly harmonizes with my country decor. Sitting on my nightstand are two black “antenna” devices that look like flattened hockey pucks connected to two “Patient Programmer” remote control units attached to power cables inelegantly draped across the floor.
The recharging process itself is rather cumbersome. To make a love connection,” the antenna device must be placed precisely and securely over the neurostimulator in my chest. I slip into the harness supplied by Medtronic, secure the straps across my chest and around my waist, then drop the antenna into the handy pocket on the harness and look, hopefully, for the suggested eight blackened bars on the patient programmer screen indicating the recharger is fully communicating with my neurostimulator. Absent these bars, I must reposition the antenna by fiddling with the straps.
Time to turn on the TV, find a nice long movie, sit back and try to refrain from moving for one hour until my battery is fully charged. Then, all I have to do is repeat the whole lovely procedure for my other neurostimulator. So far, it’s one side at a time but I’m hopeful I can map out a way to charge both sides simultaneously as patience is not one of my virtues.
CAVEAT: During charging, I look like a suicide bomber with the bold black harness holding the antenna device strapped across my chest and the handy Patient Programmer clutched in my hand. Lesson learned: NEVER, EVER charge in public…I’d frighten the daylights out of everyone around me!