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(Accidentally) Destroying My Heart Hardware

Jun 24

Posted by: ACHA
6/24/2013 1:34 PM  RssIcon

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

If any of you have ever talked to me about my experiences, you would find out pretty quickly that I am notorious in my local hospital for destroying or wearing out everything that they put in me. Case in point: I’ve never had a pacemaker last longer than four and a half years and I even smashed one and had to have it and all my leads removed and relocated due to infection. So last summer I got all new hardware, including a new lead run into my right atrium.

Well, I’ve been up to my old tricks. Sometime in the last three months I’ve managed to pull that lead free of the heart wall. So what does a person do when they destroy equipment? I laugh about it, make sure I’m not in immediate danger and then take care of the situation. There isn’t much else you can do, because worrying about it isn’t going to change anything.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. The best way to deal with CHD is a three-step process. You find a doctor who SPECIALIZES in adult CHD and who you like and work well with. You take an active role in diagnosis and treatment of your CHD. And you eat well and stay active to prevent any other health problems. If you do these three things consistently then you have done everything you can to prevent any future issues.

Everything else is out of your control and worrying about things you have no control over does nothing for you. In fact, it can even work against you—reducing your health and causing problems for you down the road.

During the next couple of weeks I will be in both Minnesota and California on vacation. I plan on taking my own advice, enjoying myself and not worrying about the wire banging around inside the top half of my heart. Ha! Easier said than done.

Jon Ritchings, Jr., is a 40-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Although he has made a career in retail, he prefers to be outdoors kayaking and taking photos. Jon likes to draw inspiration from quotes and one of his current favorites is from Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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2 comment(s) so far...


Re: (Accidentally) Destroying My Heart Hardware

I couldn't agree with you more when you talk about the three things that best help you deal with your CHD. I have CHD as well (double outlet right ventricle) and am also 40 years old. When I was in my early 20s, my peds cardiologist sent me to a regular adult cardiologist. I found out after 1 visit and tests, that this doctor had NO IDEA how to treat or manage my care. In fact, he even stated that he didn't have much experience or knowledge of pediatric cardiology. Luckily, I am nurse who works in a pediatric clinic and was able to discuss this with one of the pediatricians. He got in touch with and I was able to get an appointment with this doctor in the Adult Congenital Clinic. I have been going there for about 14-15 years now and I am glad to be there. You are right when you talk about being an active part of your medical care and understanding your diagnosis. And I also try to eat as healthy as possible and avoid things that could be detrimental to my overall health. (sorry but ice cream is my
Thank you for your story, I enjoyed reading it! I hope everything goes well for you!

By Kim Hammelman on   6/24/2013 2:22 PM

Re: (Accidentally) Destroying My Heart Hardware

Love your post...and your positive attitude ! I am 53 years old and have a single ventricle and transposition of the great vessels and it was a challenge for me to find an adult CHD doc when I moved . I finally found one who also partners with a pediatric cardiologist so they can put their heads together on most of their cases. This is a sub specialty that I am praying begins to grow.

By Michelle on   6/25/2013 10:52 AM

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