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Living Without a Pulse (eBook)

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  • 32,815 Words
  • 83 Pages

I have no pulse and no blood pressure; my pupils are even fixed and dilated. Somehow, Im alive. After years of battle with a failing heart, an implanted pump called a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) keeps me going. It masks my natural pulse with a constant flow of blood. (As for the fixed and dilated pupils, as I sometimes have to tell doctors, Im neither stoned nor dead: I just have bad eyes.)The sad fact is, heart failure claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Only around 2,500 receive heart transplants. VADs are the latest and greatest medical miracle for treating end-stage heart failure. For some, they can serve as a bridge to transplant. For others they form a destination therapythis is a nice euphemism for saying youre at the end of the road. Even destination therapy gives hope to thousands of people each year who would otherwise be sent home to die.My journey didnt begin with a VAD, and (I hope!) it wont end with one either. As Albert Einstein once said, It has become appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity. Though he was probably referring to nuclear weapons, his statement applies equally well to todays medical miracles. While I am truly thankful for the life the medical community has given me, I would like to offer them a glimpse of the human impact of their devices and treatments on the patient.My illness caught me unprepared and nave. As more people are being kept alive with ever more elaborate treatments, my hope is that my story will prepare and inform others for the long road ahead of them.I encourage you to read this book for the happiness, sadness, and comedy within it. May it help prepare you for your future and give you encouragement through the dark times ahead!

I have no pulse and no blood pressure; my pupils are even fixed and dilated. Somehow, Im alive. After years of battle with a failing heart, an implanted pump called a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) keeps me going. It masks my natural pulse with a constant flow of blood. (As for the fixed and dilated pupils, as I sometimes have to tell doctors, Im neither stoned nor dead: I just have bad eyes.)The sad fact is, heart failure claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Only around 2,500 receive heart transplants. VADs are the latest and greatest medical miracle for treating end-stage heart failure. For some, they can serve as a bridge to transplant. For others they form a destination therapythis is a nice euphemism for saying youre at the end of the road. Even destination therapy gives hope to thousands of people each year who would otherwise be sent home to die.My journey didnt begin with a VAD, and (I hope!) it wont end with one either. As Albert Einstein once said, It has become appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity. Though he was probably referring to nuclear weapons, his statement applies equally well to todays medical miracles. While I am truly thankful for the life the medical community has given me, I would like to offer them a glimpse of the human impact of their devices and treatments on the patient.My illness caught me unprepared and nave. As more people are being kept alive with ever more elaborate treatments, my hope is that my story will prepare and inform others for the long road ahead of them.I encourage you to read this book for the happiness, sadness, and comedy within it. May it help prepare you for your future and give you encouragement through the dark times ahead!


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