Welcome to the New Normal

11.05.09 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[4]

It's mostly the tab and the ctrl keys that do it - make me wince a little that is.  I'll have to get used to it for awhile, but all in all, I have no complaints.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Tuesday I was back at Strong Memorial in Rochester for an ICD implant - an internal defibrillator - which will help regulate my heart and enable a better quality of life.  The pain when I type, or try to do much of anything with my left arm, comes from the area where the implant was done - just below the collarbone on the left side.  It's manageable and it will pass but for the next six weeks I'll have limited use of that arm. 

The surgery went very well and I know that's due to at least two things; the highly-skilled surgeons and staff at Strong and the prayers of so many of you who have been supportive over the last four months since the heart attack.

I wasn't nervous about the procedure; it's fairly routine these days.  But any time they're going to open you up and do something invasive, you tend to be a little concerned.  I had asked if, while they were in there, they could also install one of those automatic car starters so this winter I could just tap my chest inside the house and warm up the car.  I don't think they were quite sure how to respond to that.

Then, when they were wheeling me into the operating room one of the RNs said, "Oh, and Gregg is here from St. Jude's, so he'll be with you during the surgery."  They'd already started the IV drip so I was a little out of it but I thought, "Why is someone from St. Jude's Children's Hospital here?"  We got in the room and this guy with a big smile leaned over me and said, "Hi, I'm Gregg".  I said, "Hi, Gregg...ah, thanks for coming."  It was one of those awkward moments like when you have a party and someone shows up that you don't know..."ah..., sure, come on in." 

The last thought I had before I went under was, "Wait a minute...I may act like it sometimes but I'm not a kid...did they mix up the charts?  Are they going to take my tonsils out?"  With that the nurse gave one final push of the IV and I was very glad Gregg had come..."Take whatever you want...no problem."

It wasn't until hours later when I was in the cath lab recovering that I remembered to ask one of the nurses about it.  I found out that St. Jude is the company that manufactures the ICD units and, because the one they were installing in me is a newer design, he was observing the procedure.  Still, I reached up and felt my throat to make sure my tonsils were still there.

So now it's on to the 'new normal'.  I'm looking forward to getting back to a full, productive life.  Connie and I have much to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving's always been my favorite "holiday" and this year will be especially meaningful to us and our family.  Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers; the emails I received from some of you who've had ICDs or know someone who has were very encouraging.  I've come away from this whole experience with a deeper appreciation for those who work in the health care field and the gifts God has given them, of skill and technology.  But most of all I'm thankful to the Lord for allowing me to continue a little further on this journey of life.  Thank you all again.

Blessings, Cecil




Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 11.05.09 Diane commented


Praise God that you cam through the surgery. When I heard on the radio that you had the ICD implanted, I remembered my implant and thank God that is has not gone off in 4 years. God is the great physician. I too am thankful for what he has done in my life.

on 11.06.09 Danielle commented


on 11.11.09 Judy - SunJudy05 commented

Hey Cecil..

Awesome blog, I enjoyed the humor thrown in there......how is the automatic car starter working?

Well glad to hear you are doing well........May your thanksgiving be a wondrous occasion!! Blessings..


on 01.06.10 Jacqui commented

I was listening to and enjoying your cd again over the Christmas holiday and I am very thankful to God that you are still around - just read some of your "blogs". Looking you up on this site, I am impressed with your ministry. I believe that you are definitely around for a Godly purpose. Keep it up!