Thunderbolt
Originally uploaded by mandolux

Herewith is a little more information that most of you haven’t seen.

Went to the Butlers’ “Hair Day” on Saturday. Lots of “Hello, Sparky” (thanks, Ben) “Are you grounded?” (Yes, Mel) greetings, in between genuine inquiries after my condition.

Well, the humor didn’t STAY at grade school level. 🙂

And after everything I said about myself on my blog, I really didn’t have room to object if I’d wanted to, which I didn’t.

Although apparently, folks talked about me and what I’d written before I arrived, making Sheri (the hair stylist) legitimately upset. “Why are you all laughing at this? It isn’t funny.”

I don’t think she fully forgave them and accepted it until I arrived and she saw for herself that I was perfectly all right — and just as, er, disrespectful of my traumatic experience as anyone else had been. She’s usually pretty tolerant and accepting of the various forms of madness one encounters in this group, but apparently there’s a limit.

What the hell. Everything ended OK. No damage done, problem is resolved and won’t happen again. I can acknowledge that the situation wasn’t funny at the time, but parts of it are funny now. I think I was laughing at the time, briefly, when the toilet lid shattered under me.

(I mentioned that previously, but to recap: I had just experienced one jolt and was sitting on the closed lid, dazed. I had mostly reassembled my wits when I felt another jolt, and the next thing I remember I was sitting *in* the toilet on pieces of shattered plastic.)

C’mon, doesn’t that sound like something that would happen to Wile E Coyote after accidentally swallowing some thunderstorm pills?

Jake was surprised that I couldn’t compare the experience to licking a 9-volt battery, because I’ve never done that. He thinks I may be the only male on the planet who has access to 9-volt batteries who hasn’t tried it. Thanks to

  (who knew the power conversions necessary to calculate it), I now know it would take over a hundred batteries to match the initial 5-joule charge. Probably more than that, since Bill’s calculations assume you’d maintain contact with the battery for a full second, and that doesn’t seem likely.

I did talk to the doctor about whether my own reactions (I actually think the ICD is kinda cool) were unusual, and apparently they are. A lot of patients are low-level anxious about the thing all the time (hence the support groups they keep trying to get me to join). As they see it, there’s this gadget in your chest that could give you a jolt at ANY TIME, you’ll get no warning, and there’s absolutely NOTHING you can do about it. There’s no off switch. Well, there’s no switch the patient can reach.

Me, I’m just tickled that this level of care is available. Nobody has yet suffered any lasting damage from an “inappropriate discharge.” (I mean, really, how can you not laugh at that? It’s been years since I’ve had an “inappropriate discharge,” and now in one afternoon I’ve had nine of them.)

This technology is advancing so quickly that it’s still somewhat experimental, and (like so many things) different for each individual. Like any other computer, it works pretty well out of the box, but it works even better when it’s been configured for the particular user and environment. That’s why they bring me in for a diagnostic every three months. That’s why they sent me this spiffy modem (dial-up, how primitive) so they can call my ICD at will and monitor me. Or, conversely, my ICD cal call them if it feels the need.

Maybe a lifetime spent reading science fiction has prepared me for this stuff.

When I left I told everybody I was going to go jump-start the car.

Probably just as well this was after Cheri left.

At some point I’ll go to Dr Liberman”s / Dr Delurgio’s office (cardiology) for a follow-up EKG and blood pressure tests. (Note: Did this today, Monday.) They still want to know why my pulse was so high in the first place.

Oh, yes, I haven’t mentioned that. The reason John couldn’t find my pulse is the same reason the ICD mistook my rapid heartbeat for the ventricular fibrillation it was looking for. When the EMT took my pulse, he wasn’t sure the machine was right at first, because I wasn’t displaying any other signs traditionally associated with a pulse “at rest” in excess of 150 beats per minute. Even when they got it slowed down, it was still pathetically erratic.

Best guess at the moment is that it was due to (a) the toprol doses I’d missed, (b) the severe potassium deficiency I was experiencing (probably due to the diuretics I was taking and not compensating for), and (c) having just been hit with eight 5-joule jolts and one 35-joule whopper, which is enough to rattle your marbles pretty damn good, let me tell you.

Anyway, I’m sorry I have no pictures of myself naked, stunned and helpless to liven up this journal. (Hey, some people pay good money for that kind of thing.) I’m sure it would have been interesting to see the little van de Graaf arcs between my eyes.

Hey,

? Do you have a Mildly Exciting electric-powered hero yet? I’ve got just the concept. Dress him in a monk’s robe and call him… Frere Shocker!

Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

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