Thursday, 4 August 2011
Anyone who had a heart
When I heard about it on the radio, I thought "Well, I'd have to be pretty bad to allow them to do that to me." I mean having something foreign in your body - that's so creepy. It's bad enough a plastic hip, false teeth or a glass eye but an artificial heart? That's one surgical procedure too far.
You see I was under the misapprehension that Matthew Green was leaving Papworth hospital with an artificial heart permanently embedded in his chest. When the interviewer asked the surgeon what this implant would mean to Mr Green the eminent cardiologist suggested that Matthew, plus the lump of plastic and steel stitched into his chest cavity, would be able to do many of the things you or I could accomplish.
It's funny how the mind works; I couldn't get the thought out of my mind that sticking out of his chest were cables attached to a pretty large power pack and control unit. How, I thought, could you do anything normal with cables dangling out of your nipples. "Sex, that would be a problem, as would anything to do with large electric currents or magnetic fields"; except I immediately thought that none of us have to deal with them normally so it wouldn't be an issue. But having a bath or a shower, going swimming would most certainly be off limits - wouldn't do to have a short circuit!
I concluded that life for Mr Green wouldn't be much fun, even if the alternative wasn't a bag of laughs. And then I heard the story again. Of course, it was only a temporary heart, until a donor could be found. Well that was a relief; especially for our Matthew.
Matthew's dependent on this lump of pneumatic plastic pumping away in his chest cavity. OK it's not permanent but having had the plastic pump of our washing machine replaced not so long ago, I can't help worrying that Matt's might just seize up when he's least expecting it.
Is there a battery of flashing lights which indicate the health of his plastic heart; a claxon which goes off if his life support is about to die on him and with it, him? What happens if the software controlling the implant gets a virus? Can't easily reboot without compromising our Mr Green's existence.
As far as I can see, I'd be so scared that something is bound to go wrong ( e.g.the tappets in the thingy me bob which turned the pump that makes the blood go around and around), I wouldn't be able to sleep.
Poor Matthew would be like one of those electric cars - stuck to walking 600 meters from his house, any further and he wouldn't get back to his recharger in time. "Darling, I'm Home" as he collapses on the door step, just inches short of an electric socket.
Unless of course, he's nuclear powered. That's the answer, he's got a small piece of refined uranium in his power pack, delivering inextinguishable heat to power a small turbine which drives a miniature generator which operate the pneumatic pump that keeps him alive.
While I think they can do wonderful things these days; I do so hope someone falls of their perch fairly soon so Matt can have a real heart put back in his chest cavity. I'm sure we'd all feel a lot less stressed.
And stress, as we all know, is a major contributing factor to heart attacks and death.