Meet Sparky, my new pacemaker. He joined our family in July after I
experienced dizzy spells and was rushed to Lakeland Regional.
In the emergency room, my pulse ranged from 31 to 35. In other words, I
was flat lining with well-spaced blips. Before I knew it, I was in a bed with
a team of physicians hovering over me, chattering, stabbing, inserting tubes
and reading meters. The decision was made: “He needs a pacemaker.” (For
the uninitiated, this is a little electronic device composed of a generator and
leads inserted under the skin to regulate heartbeats.)
Next, I was wheeled into surgery where someone took an electric razor
to my chest and, employing the coldest jelly possible, stuck “plates” to my
torso and back. Then in a nightmarish twist, these plates had to be removed
before I got X-rays.
Smarting from the intense pain, I screamed, “Now, I know what a bikini
wax feels like!”
A female voice responded, “No you don’t!”
Lidocaine was applied, and a “tent” of sheets and blankets was built to cover
my head so I wouldn’t pass out from the sight of it all. I asked for a flashlight
and comic book but was denied.
In less than three hours from the
time I entered the ER, “Sparky” was
embedded in my chest.
Back at home, I noticed in the
mirror that my color was back. I
looked much tanner, younger and
healthier than in recent days.
My wife Joy exclaimed, “Michael,
you’re drop-dead gorgeous!” I asked
if she could please rephrase that
Now I am learning to live my life
with my new partner, Sparky. The
only precautions they gave me were
to keep my iPhone at least 6 inches away and to never lean over a running
car engine which could interfere with its pacing.
They also say I could set off security alarms in stores and airports. If that
happens, I can only hope those in charge are in a good mood that day. I should
also avoid strong magnetic fields, so no trips to Siberia.
These little inconveniences are small prices to pay for such fantastic
technology. Not only can Sparky keep me alive for decades to come, but I
just discovered that he will actually skim the credit card of the dude in front
of me in the convenience store line. I may never have to pay for gas again!
Next time, I may even ask for cashback.
On a more serious note, Mike encourages you to
check your pulse and blood pressure daily. Share your experiences with
him at email@example.com.