April 19, 2010

The Bionic Man

Or as one friend noted, I now classify as a Cyborg.

In my heart there is a Medtronic Sprint Quattro, pictured left. This little toy is under a half inch in length and a tenth of an inch in diameter. It was inserted into a vein in the collar area, down into the heart, and embedded into the interior; dragging it's wires with it. Those wires were then connected to a Medtronic Secura VR, pictured right is the DR version, of lesser battery capacity. This thing is about 2" by 2" by 1/2" and is implanted under the skin near and below the left collarbone. The combination is refered to as an "Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator."

The ICD has several functions -- if my heart beat drops too low it will step in and kick it back up, too fast and it will slow it down. If my heart goes into fibrillation, the defibrillator will kick in. I am now far less likely to die of heart failure.

Posted by Paladin at 06:50 PM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2010


A nice picture of one of the two 1/2" drains removing excess fluid from the chest cavity. Was going good until the idiot nurse Cesar went and stepped on one of my tubes as I was getting up for a walk. I could feel air and fluid being pushed back into my chest. He laughed. That idiot added a few days to the time I was stuck connected to the suitcase and drainage tubes.

As when George called me a rotten Technician, I had no way of recording the date/time or even fact of the incident. So I simply get to suffer a little longer.

Posted by Paladin at 10:30 PM | Comments (2)

April 17, 2010

Closer Look

Getting a closer look at the surgeons' work... the classic "zipper" scar up the sternum, the thich red-green-brown-black-white wires run from the sticky pads to the ECG machine and monitor the electrical activity of my heart.
The thin red-white wires enter the body and attach to the heart, a temporary pacemaker, external. Second picture, a slightly different angle, shows the pacemaker itself, wrapped in gauze, a surgical glove or two, tape, the mass which is taped to the belly. Also visible is one of the two 1/2" diameter drainage tubes.

Posted by Paladin at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2010

Slight Disability

Been feeling poorly for a few months, had a persistant cough since Christmas. Started getting chest pains and for the first time since prescribed used my Nitrostat. Made appointments with the doctor, she refers me to Cardiology. I get a Echogram (same as an expectant mother's sonogram, except looking at the heart -- that little bugger really jumps around!). Get scheduled for a Stress Test, but when they hooked me to the ECG they sort of neglected any stress. Not a good sign. Scheduled for an angiogram....

I am to go to the Kaiser Sunset Cardiology on April 13th, check in, have the procedure, go home, recoup for a day, go back to light work. The procedure involved running a tube through an artery in the groin up to the heart, leaving a rather nasty hole in the groin area. Not much different from the Stent Insertion of 12-13 years ago that saw me out on benefits for 11 weeks. And balloon angioplasty and stent insertions were a possible add-on and which would have me in the hospital a few more days with several weeks recovery.

Instead, they take a look and admit me. Want to do a Quadrauple Bypass -- the artery with the stent is totally blocked, the other three arteries only mostly blocked. They give me a 90-95% chance of surviving the surgery.

So, April 14th, I go into this rather large operating theater and wake up a few moments later, or eight hours depending on which time line you follow, with a tube in my throat, which they whip out and I again get to breath unassisted. They only did a Triple Bypass -- the area fed by the blocked stent was too dead to revive.

My Sternum has been split, the cheast prised open, veins taken ferom the leg to be grafted to the heart, close up, wrap wire around the sternum to hold it together, add a few drainage tubes, attach a few wires to the heart, sewn up, and I am now recovering....

Posted by Paladin at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2010


Hopefully not. Past few months I've been getting winded easier, and starting to get chest pains when it happens. So I got serious about seeing the doctor. Went for a stress test but the stress part got shelved -- I'm guessing they didn't like what they saw on the ECG. Last Thursday I had an ultrasound of the heart -- that little thing jumps around a lot more than you would expect. Then she flipped a switch and there was red and blue colors. "Wassat?" Blood flow, doppler ultrasound.

Tuesday I get to go to the Sunset facility and they'll be routing out coronary arteries -- an outpatient procedure, get to go home same day. Should be feeling much better in a week.

Will post updates as they happen.

Posted by Paladin at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)