Sunday, March 20, 2011

Heart of Steel

It's been an interesting week here in the Nest. While the calendar said it was spring break, Real Life had other, more pressing ideas in store. Sure, there were a few errand-y things - worked one full day, had some tech issues, had a plumber come in (who looked under the sink and said, "Well - that's just wrong.") But more was in store.

You see, FryDaddy is a cyborg. Yep, sort of like Tony Stark, he has a device implanted in his chest. (That's pretty much where the similarities end, though and a good thing. Stark can be a first-class ass and having tons of money doesn't change that.) FryDaddy's device is a combo pacemaker-defibrillator that collects data from a lead that runs from the device in the chest wall to the chambers of the heart. Long story short, the lead fractured. (Get this - this was not an unexpected event. The lead had been recalled, but it's a tad more difficult to take out a wire held in place by human scar tissue than it is to trundle a toaster oven back to Best Buy, so it was left in, hoping there'd never be a problem. Great plan, until there was one.) When this happened on Thursday, the lead was unable to collect information and the device "alarmed" to inform FryDaddy to get thee to a hospital. To put it mildly, it's disconcerting to hear the sound of a British ambulance issuing from your beloved's chest.

Hospital, waiting room, technicians, heart clinic, cardiac unit. Philly cheesesteak for dinner, which doesn't seem quite right, but I wasn't about to argue for rabbit food under the circumstances.

On Friday, the boys in white coats took away his Kindle long enough to dope him up, reopen the incision, attempt to remove the old lead, decide it was less intrusive to "cap it off," inserted a new, shiny, super-sophisticated lead (more on that later), replace the old device with a new, fully charged one (yep, they checked the battery life!), stapled him up and sent him back. All in about four hours, only a little over one of which was the actual "procedure."

How I love modern medical technology!

While not on bed rest, he has to be a bit careful for the next two weeks while the new lead "scars into place" - odd words to bring comfort, but it's a strange world in which we live. No driving, no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk with that arm, no raising the arm above the shoulder (which makes putting on a shirt somewhat interesting), and a few other restrictions. The incision is neatly bandaged and seems quite small for what it is. The new device is much more advanced than the old one - its sensors are constantly scanning the electrical workings of FryDaddy's heart and it will even page the doctor if certain levels begin to rise and it'll page the doctor long before the device alarms. (Although this requires a landline. Seriously. We're going to add a plan to avoid roaming charges!) And the old lead will now be a "backup" that can be turned on remotely, should that be necessary.

As you can see, humor is my defense. But it's wearing thin. You see, give me a crisis and I'm fine. Come into the house after the table saw goes "crunch" clutching something scarlet and dripping and I'm perfectly okay. But once the shock wears off, I'm a bit of a mess. As Dorothy Parker once said, "It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes." Case in point: last time FryDaddy had an issue with the heart device, I'm told I was a rock. Until about a week later, when I burst into tears when getting a parking pass.

So spring break wasn't the lazy, sun-drenched week it might have been when I was much younger. It wasn't even the "gotta write the paper" week I thought it was going to be. But FryDaddy is home and safe and healthy and sane.

I'll take that.


amnbsdad said...

I'm glad it went well, sounds a bit harrowing.

Sue said...

Glad he's doing well; I was hoping it was something relatively "benign" like this and not like a heart attack or worse. I know what you mean about the spring break not being a break...I just got out of the hospital myself (elective procedure, but with a touch of complications, and kicked my butt more than expected.) Going back to work will be fun, fun, fun tomorrow! Yikes.

Hope you get some relaxation somehow!