Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No! Bad Patient!

If you have a pacemaker, and the battery is almost expired, perhaps you should take advantage of the offer to be the first patient of the day. Especially as you've been retired for decades now, and have more free time than some of our other patients. But, if you must delay your procedure, it would be really, really nice if you would follow the nurse's instructions and NOT eat a bowl of ice cream several hours before your procedure. We don't do that because we think it's fun to make people hungry and dizzy; we do it because aspirating vomit into your lungs tends to compromise your ability to breath, which somewhat complicates the procedure. As we explained it to you several times before, please excuse us for not giving in to your expectation to be heavily sedated when you passed into the room.

Eventually, we managed to get started. Only to find out your leads also need to be replaced, in addition to your pacer. No big thing, that happens a lot. Thing wear out, we fix them. That's why we told you that this could happen. And sometimes we find out that other things have changed since you had your device installed many years ago. Like that your heart has an unpleasant tendency to drop into asystole without a pacer. So, it's certainly a good thing you have a pacemaker. And it's a good thing we replaced that poorly functioning lead that lets it stimulate your heart. What would be extra nice, would be if you would not do those things I just finished telling you to no do that could pull that new lead out of position, leaving your heart to its own, probably fatal, rhythm.

Last, I'm sorry you're upset I ruined your plans for the evening by telling you that you will be spending the night here. As both the doctor and I explained what could happen if your lead is dislodged, we thought it reasonably clear that being in a cardiac care facility is a good thing if you're heart stops. Stupid us. You've obviously seen through our charade, and into our master plan to rob you blind through forcing the government to use your tax dollars to make Medicare pay for your procedure.
Still, best of luck. I'd rather see you in another ten years to replace your expended battery, but somehow I won't be surprised if it's sooner.

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