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Old 03-11-2010, 08:07 AM
herbert herbert is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: Just north of Sydney
Posts: 209
Default Herbert has no Heart he runs on a Microprocessor


Sherry – Thank you for your caring thoughts.

I had a real health scare that could have lead to a fatal end.

Just after New Year and after several month of feeling more dead than alive during the night and in the morning and not able to breathe freely, I asked Margaret to drive me to the hospital. I was subjected to very elaborate tests over a two week period, all on national health. National health is appreciated by most in this country. I must say that I enjoyed experiencing all the extraordinary technologies employed.

I was diagnosed with arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat that in my case, only at night, sporadically made my heart beat at an extremely high rate, depriving the body of oxygen and potentially taking the heart into deadly fibrillation. This is the condition where typically an announcement is made at church that, “Fred has passed away peacefully in his sleep, leaving behind …”

If you suspect a similar health problem, go to a hospital. Do not wait until you are three foot under the soil and your dog respectfully urinates on your grave stone.

I always thought that I had a good heart. As my friends say, a compassionate heart made of gold and as I know, fierce in the face of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

Gold is an element with the chemical symbol Au (aurum) and an atomic number of 79. The various cardiologists that took care of me, convinced me, that hearts are never made of gold.

To get back to health, I had a stainless steel stent implanted and following this, an implant of an Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Micro Computer. The device monitors the heart beat and requirements of the body via wires implanted in the heart. Adjustments to the heart are made for irregularities of the heart beat. In case of fibrillation, the heart is stopped and restarted by a high energy electric shock of 42 joules, similar to what you see on TV when pads are put to the chest of a patient, applying a high voltage charge, to restart the heart to a normal rate.

Thinking back, it was kinda scary. Before surgery I was asked to sign contracts to indemnify the medical staff against being sued. I was told that my chance was 1000 to 1 to survive the procedure. Just before I was knocked out, I explained to the surgeon my concern about my chance of 1000 to 1 to survive and asked him to check if I possibly was No 1000, as I would rather wait with the operation. The surgeon replied: “No need to worry Herbert, you are only No 999. We will operate on patient 1000 later in the afternoon.” My very next memory was looking at a gentle smiling face of a nurse telling me that my operation had been a complete success and asking me if I wanted a cup of tea. I asked for a double scotch, just plain, no ice, no water. I did not get it, perhaps because I was on national health and not privately insured.

After the implantation of the Micro Computer, a technician was able to test the electronics, by lowering and then speeding up my heart rate at will via remote control. I get a free of charge check-up of the implanted electronics every 6 month or when necessary, by technicians employed by the manufacturer of the implant, similar to a car service.

I am glad that my implanted very Personal Computer has no ventilation holes nor has it a noisy fan. The device has a built-in beeper to warn of a flat battery and other alarm conditions. The battery live is up to 6 years, when I get a replacement of the whole unit, at the state of the art then. I have been told that the device costs about $50,000.

Less than three month later I feel well, am physically active and no longer think about the implant. I have a lot of catching-up to do.

Just as always, best wishes,


Last edited by herbert; 03-11-2010 at 08:08 AM. Reason: typo
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