Medicine. Good.

Winter                                                                Imbolc Moon

Met a charming Dr. David Schneider yesterday. Kate’s shoulder guy. He said thin women like her were ideal candidates for a new shoulder, either the reverse or the normal. He recommends the reverse implant because it not only provides pain relief; it also will allow her to reach above her head. Her bones and muscles that support the shoulder are all strong so he anticipates a good result. Sometime in the next couple of months. Not scheduled yet.

“Boring,” he said. And boring is good. One of the first things I learned after marrying Kate was that you do not want to be an interesting patient.

pacemaker history

He told several stories, starting by commenting on the three lead pacemaker that Kate has. It showed up in the shoulder x-rays. “Made possible by the transistors invented in the 40’s and battery improvements in the 1950’s.” Seemed like an odd place to start Kate’s consultation, but he went on, “Did you know the wearable external pacemaker was invented by a TV repair guy in Minneapolis?” I didn’t.

Earl Bakken had a shop near University hospital and collaborated with a well known heart surgeon, Dr. Lillehei. Apparently, Lillehei had successfully planted leads into the hearts of several patients but they were literally plugged in, “…using a hundred foot extension cord.” Schneider went on, “Then there was a storm, power failed and the patients all died.”

Bakken came up with a wearable device (external) based on an electronic metronome (rhythm for the heart). Crude, but it worked. Lillehei took it right away and tried it on a dog. It worked. The very next day it was in use in patients. Medtronics was born. Schneider is going to the Big Island in three weeks to interview Bakken, who is 94. Turns out Dr. Schneider is writing a book on the history of medical devices.

As he went through the consultation, he explained who came up with measuring certain angles in the shoulder and referred to one guy, whose name I don’t recall, as “a shoulder God.”

He’s also a fan of Mama’s Fish House. Good taste.

gratitude shiloh sophiaSandy, our house cleaner, who is about to have brain surgery for a second time on the 20th of this month, got her quilt Kate made her yesterday. She’s a strong woman and she’s had a very, very tough year. Unfortunately, the tumor did not debulk as they had hoped after the first surgery. It’s benign, but large. The aftermath of the surgery is awful. Disorientation. Nausea. Headaches. And these last a while. A quilt is such a great gift in this situation, since a lot of time in bed is part of the recovery. Covered in love.

I know. A lot of medical stuff over the last few weeks. Kate. Kate and me. Rigel. Our friend with breast cancer and her husband. But. Kate’s shoulder replacement should ease her everyday load. Rigel’s getting better. Jon’s gradually making the transition to single life and doing wonders on his new house. Ruth is growing up very fast. Kate’s friend anticipates excellent results. It feels lighter around here right now. I’m grateful.


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