It’s Time for a System Upgrade

February 6, 2010


Medtronic VIrtuoso ICD

I’ve been in systems work for almost thirty years.  And in each of those years, annual budgets have always included upgrades to pre-existing systems and technologies.  For some companies, that refresh cycle is every thirty-six months.  For some companies, it is extended to every sixty months.  In my case, that cycle has been 90 months.

Basically, it is now time to replace the ICD that has been in my chest for over 90 months.  First, I am so thankful for the men and women that work at Medtronic. Second, I am so very thankful for all the investors that have set aside their own savings in order to invest in research and in patient care.  Third, I am thankful for the doctor that selected an exceptional device.  Finally, I am thankful to my family for always supporting me throughout this phase of my life.

But I am now transitioning from first-time ICD recipient to lifelong ICD recipient.  It’s now time to set aside the things of youth and settle into treating my ICD as part of my normal day-to-day  existence.

In fairness, it really has been part of my routine for seven years.  Indeed, it took me six months to get past the weirdness of relying upon tech for my continued life.  But once you get past the mental barriers, living with an ICD is like living with any other routine care.  For some people, this means routine blood testing.  For others, it means routine medication.  For me, it means that I can call my self “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

And it is quite interesting to note how this tech has evolved.  When I started with my implant, I had to see the doctor every six months.  About three years ago, I received a small “reader” that collects telemetry and sends it via a modem.  The latest revisions of these device us secure, wireless communications to download data in real-time and then send it to a remote monitoring site (kind of like household monitoring).  And if problems are noted, updated therapies can be immediately downloaded to the device.

It’s all quite interesting – and a little bit disconcerting.  I am now subject to the security of wireless communications and firmware that can be revised on the fly.  It’s all very cool.  But if I were someone important, I might be concerned that someone could p0wn my heart!

Nevertheless, I find myself more interested than fearful.  And I’d love to see firmware mods with really cool features – though I can’t think of practical uses.  But I can see a mod where I can tap on my ICD and have it emit some kind of tones/music.  Maybe wolf-whistles or something similarly inane.

But as I consider this as a pivot point, I am starting to view what else I can upgrade during this transition point.  First, I need to reconsider whether it is time to jump back into IT leadership.  I stepped back from that as I didn’t want others to depend upon me when I was concerned about my own “longevity.”  Those times are over.  So I’m considering changing back into a management track.

Second, I really need to step up and become an even better spiritual leader for my household.  I can’t remember the last time I seriously witnessed to someone in my sphere of influence.  That really needs to change.  I must confess my selfishness and plead for the strength to witness my convictions.

Third, I really need to wrestle with God to determine what his plans for my life are.  I am restarting so many things.  As a middle-aged man, I was watching my household dwindle.  But now that Cindy and I are helping our daughter to raise our grand-daughter, my expected life roles are different than I anticipated.  I love my grand-daughter even more than I can express.  But I really need God to empower me to be the kind of influence that my daughter and my grand-daughter really need.  So I’ am re-dedicating myself to the task of becoming a family leader once again.

But rather than prattle on, I’ll close this post out very simply.  I covet your prayers.  The surgery is scheduled for March 3, 2010.  I may live tweet before and after.  But that will depend upon how out-of-it I feel and whether I can smuggle my phone into the hospital with my stuff.  Maybe I can talk to the doctor and see if he tweets.  It would be quite cool to have some kind of live stream.

But between now and then, I covet your prayers.  Pray that I will become the man that God wants me to be.  Pray that my heart is young enough to listen to what God wants rather than just requesting his blessings on what I want.




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One Comment on “It’s Time for a System Upgrade”

  1. Al Rowing Says:

    I have said a prayer for you. I am a student (same demographic as you) trying to break into this field. ICD world is very exciting and powerful but not more powerful than the second path you are re-considering. Good luck and God bless.


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