Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Survivor's Guide to VNS: Part 2 - Activities

More questions about VNS.

Will I still be able to play football?
Not so much. Although the pulse generator is encased in titanium and has about a zero chance of breaking open from a hit by a linebacker, the delicate leads are not so invulnerable. The leads are carefully wrapped around your vagus nerve and can come loose or break if you got hit in the neck by a ball or arm or leg or whatever. Use some common sense here and avoid activities that may involve objects colliding with your neck.

Can I swim with my VNS?
Sure can! That thing is completely inside your body and fluid-proof to boot! Granted, if your seizures are not completely controlled, you probably don’t want to be out there doing laps by yourself...

Can I still ride roller-coasters?
I rode the Top Gun roller-coaster at Carowinds about 6 months after my VNS surgery. I made it through ok, but the harness rubbed against my pulse generator and I was nervous about my head being jerked around. I survived just fine and my VNS system did not encounter any problems… but I don’t plan to ride any other coasters. Unfortunately, that was my last time I will get to experience 5 gravities while going 55 miles per hour through an inverted loop. Final answer: Not so much.

How about plane flights? Can I do those?
Yep! I have taken several flights since I have had my VNS. I haven’t had any negative effects from it.

Will the metal detectors go off at the airport screening?
Nope! The case is made of titanium and the battery is lithium. Neither will set off the alarms.

How about the magnet? Will the airport people give me problems?
I have carried my magnets with me on the plane. No questions about them at all.

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