The internal combustion engine and the human heart have some significant similarities.
First, both need fuel. Engine uses a petroleum derivative, the heart uses blood.
Both also need a spark. The engine an electrical system ending with the spark plug, the heart a set of nerves that tell it when to beat.
Not a perfect analogy but good enough to explain the situation to my gear-head brother.
In August 2006 my fuel system was clogged. The clog or obstruction was at the junction of two vessels. A stent was to dangerous. I had a double bypass.
Fast forward to 26 May 2012, just a month ago. I collapsed in the backyard. There is about 30 minutes that are lost forever. Mrs Chief and our son took me to the hospital where I was a guest for two days while a bunch of MDs tried to figure out what was going on. Ran a lot of tests, no conclusions.
Fast forward three and a half weeks to Friday, 21 Jun. I am in the bathroom with a cup of very hot coffee preparing to take my morning pills and the next thing I know, I am sitting on the sofa with three EMTs tending to me. A trip to the same hospital and an admission to be under observation.
They got me all wired up and in a room and – bingo – the next thing I know I am in the ICU. I had passed out while being monitored and now they knew exactly what was wrong. The electrical firing that tells my heart when to beat was suffering a malfunction.
That morning the cardiologist inserted the wire for a temporary pacemaker. On 24 Jun in the afternoon a permanent pacemaker was inserted in my upper left chest between the collar bone and the shoulder. I was home before noon on Tuesday the 25th.
I was lucky.