I am feeling much, much better.
The full-body pain of last week - a nice little leftover from the muscle relaxant they used before intubation - is gone. I also got my bandage off yesterday morning, and the incision appears to be healing nicely. And, I'm feeling less anxious now that I'm up and doing things for myself again. Still tired and a bit blue, but I am working hard at taking care of myself, getting enough sleep and relaxing.
The only thing that's really bothering me is the placement of the new ICD. When I received my first defibrillator, I asked for it to be implanted under the pectoral muscle. This meant more pain and a longer recovery, but the device was nicely tucked away and not very visible. When the surgeon put in the replacement last week, though, he decided to hide it under breast tissue instead. He explained afterward that submuscular implants are becoming rare now that ICDs are so much smaller, and that he wanted to ensure easier, less painful surgeries down the road.
I get that. I know he was doing what he thought was best. And I know that the placement of the device wasn't the thing on everybody's mind. Lead extraction can be complicated and risky, and I'm so grateful that my surgeon got everything out neatly and without nicking anything important. Dr. Sneakers informed me beforehand that the team would have to "get out all their open heart surgery tools" just in case, and I'm very happy we didn't need them.
But this thing is basically in my breast. It's lumpier, and I think more noticeable, than before. Not so helpful for someone who is already a bit self-conscious about her (enormous) chest. Now it's enormous AND lumpy. And of course, I wasn't planning on surgery this summer, on having to make a decision about a new ICD. I wasn't planning on having to think about these things.
I hope I'll feel better about it once it doesn't hurt anymore. I hope it settles in soon and doesn't feel so foreign. And I hope somebody looks at it and tells me it's no big deal.
I suppose if I ever had a reason to go around flashing close friends, this would be it.