I had a present in the mail the other day.
It's called a CareLink Monitor, and it's from Medtronic, the people who made my defibrillator. Every night while I'm sleeping, it reads my device and transmits the information to the hospital. If anything is unusual, it alerts the nurses in the ICD Clinic and they can get in touch with me.
You plug it into your phone line, then place the little round wand thing over your heart for a few seconds so that it can read all of the personal information on your device. Then it sends that information to the hospital, and ta-da!, you now have a personalized monitor that keeps track of everything your heart device does.
Pretty cool technology, although I have to admit I am not one hundred per cent happy about it. In fact, I've said "no thanks" to it repeatedly. It's another thing with more plugs and wires (it has lots of wires) to fit into my little apartment, and it's also a constant reminder of my defibrillator. When I'm feeling fine heart-wise (which is the vast majority of the time), it's still sitting there looking at me with its little green lights.
That said, my nurse managed to convince me by telling me it would have caught
the problem with my leads this summer before the device shocked me. I'd still have needed surgery, but I could have bypassed the making-a-scene-in-public bit, and that
would have been very nice. So now I have a new device to keep an eye on the other new device and make sure it doesn't develop any problems. (Soon I'll be getting a CareLink Monitor Monitor. And a CareLink Monitor Monitor Monitor.)
All complaining aside, it is reassuring (and pretty amazing) to know that any potential problems with my ICD should be caught before they manifest themselves in unnecessary shocks.