Thursday, August 30, 2018

Battery Replacement

This post is embarrassingly overdue but I'm going to write it anyway because I think it's worth writing.

If you have a rechargeable battery, how long will it last? When I got mine in 2009 I was told it would last 10-20 years, depending on how much I used it. I have mine off more than I have it on (not because it doesn't work but because I don't need it that much anymore!) so I expected mine to last somewhere in the 15-year range. Yeah. Wrong.

Last fall when I went to charge one day, a message popped up. I looked it up and it turns out it was telling me my battery life was nearing its end. My doctor checked it out at my next appointment and verified that it was time for replacement. We scheduled it for November (2017). That means my battery lasted about 8 1/2 years. I had expected it to last twice that long! So I was a bit disappointed but there's nothing to be done but replace it.

The good news is that the battery replacement surgery was a breeze. I debated whether to go back to my original surgeon in Chicago or to have my local pain doctor in Colorado do it. My CO does NOT do stimulator for headaches but does a ton for back pain and he was very confident the battery swap was well within his skills. He was right. He did it in his surgical center (i.e. not a hospital) and it took all of 30 minutes. He cut the battery pocket open along the original incision as to not make a new scar. The battery I got was the exact same size as the original so he didn't have to alter the pocket or anything. He literally just had to disconnect the old battery, take it out, put the new battery in, reconnect it, and close me up. He usually staples battery sites but I persuaded him to to staple mine because it's so visible being in my chest. He did internal stitches and then a bit of surgical glue. He was so happy with how it turned out that he said he might have to start using that technique on all his patients!

Recovery was all of a few days. Sure, it was a bit sore for maybe two weeks but not enough to require more than some Advil.

While he was doing the replacement, he did notice that one of my leads had some damage right where it plugged in to the battery. He said it wasn't terrible and since it had been working fine, he decided to leave it. But if I have any problems, it will need to be replaced. The good news is he said the whole lead wouldn't need to be replaced. He could do it himself and would just have to open the battery pocket again and replace the end section of the lead. He said it wouldn't be any more invasive than than the battery replacement. Probably less, actually. long will your battery last? Who knows! But don't fear the replacement. It's truly no big deal.

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