Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Wonderful Electrical World

Slow Music…
The Persistence of Memory by Salvadore Dali, 1931

            Have you ever had the feeling that everything was moving at half speed?  The simplest thing took more time… and everything seemed kind of hard?
            My world s..l..o..w..e..d  down. 

            The whole thing reminded me of a Salvadore Dali painting. 

            A few days ago I left a building in Beverly and walked to my car, and the short walk wiped me out. 
            I’ve had a pacemaker helping my heart work for nine years, and it occurred to me that something was not right.  These pacemakers are marvelous little devices.  They have kept millions of people alive and living active lives for years, and each year they get better.
            I quickly got an appointment to see the Pacer clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as soon as I sat in the chair and the technician hooked up the sensors, she said, “Your battery is down!” She confirmed the exact moment when the battery slowed.
            In our world today, we live with batteries on our cell phones, our laptops, our flashlights, our car key remotes, our cars, our wristwatches.
            But when your battery on your pacemaker gets low, it helps pump only one chamber of the heart, and leaves the other on its own. 
            That means that when you stand up after sitting, or you climb three steps, you feel like you’ve sprinted up a seven-story building.  You are wiped slick!
            When you think of it, imagine a battery there next to your heart that has been sending out tiny electrical pulses day in and day out, for nine years!  That is one incredible battery!

            However, it would be nice if you had a little warning that your heart was going to be going on half-power.

  Pacemaker in body (

            Mass. General immediately scheduled me for blood tests, an x-ray, an electrocardiogram and all the rest. While I was waiting to see a doctor during all this hurried-up process, my hearing aid battery started to beep at me. 
            Yep, right there waiting to get my pacemaker fixed, I needed to replace the battery in my hearing aid.  Isn’t this a wonderful world?

            Next week I will go in for the operation to replace the pacemaker. 
 I went in to Mass. General Tuesday, Apr. 2 at 9 a.m. and by 11:30 a.m., like the tin woodsman, I had a nice new pacemaker, selling pleasant little electrons to both upper and lower chambersof my heart so that I could walk up hills and stairways like a regular person.  It's wonderful to be back!

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