Could Be Alive, Could Be Dead — They’ll Never Know

My pacemaker was scheduled to transmit last night.  Coincidentally, I woke up in the middle of the night for the ol’ call of nature.  As I looked up at the monitor table, I saw the red transmit light on my wireless modem and knew that my data was being transmitted.

I generally am called first thing in the morning by the pacemaker department to go over my results.  I never got a call.  Then, shortly after Noon, my awaited call came in.  The tech asked me if I was having problems at the home with the unit or if I had lost power recently because they never received a transmission.  That thoroughly confused me and I told her that I even saw the transmit light on last night.

Even though I am on a battery backup, thinking that last week’s storm may have flaked out the unit or the modem, I unplugged both of them, let them sit for thirty seconds, and then plugged them back in again, effectively “rebooting” them.  Then, I went to do a manual transmit.

From the moving lights on my monitor, I could see that the unit read my information.  Then, the modem clicked on (it’s always audible the first time you send until it goes into automatic mode) and dialed the number.  I could hear the negotiation sounds of the modem and then saw the lights moving indicating transmission.

However, before the transmission could complete, give an audible “success” sound, and set to auto, the light paused on the monitor and the transmit light went out on the modem.  It then went into auto redial several times until it failed out.

I called the pacemaker department to tell them my problem.  They gave me the phone number for Medtronic.  When I called their support number, I received my “Aha!” moment.  There was a message that all customers on two wireless networks were having failed connections.  The problem was not the user, the problem is on the network’s end and Medtronic does not know when it might be corrected.

So, I’m thinking to myself, “Okay.  My monitor is supposed to watch me and, if anything untoward happens, it calls in to the doctor’s office to notify them of a problem.  I could be fine.  I could be having a problem.  I could be dead.  The modem will never be able to connect to let the doctor know.”

And that led me to my ultimate conclusion and one that I use regularly:  Technology is wonderful — when it works.  🙂

So now, each day, I will call Medtronic until I know the network problem is cleared, manually send my information, and have my monitor go back to auto.