Friday, September 28, 2012

Report from Pillville: the Pacemaker

"I need a pacebreaker," the man who loves me exclaimed some time ago. We were, no doubt, discussing our mortality or some related profoundly romantic topic.

My mother, on the other hand, has a pacemaker. Now that she lives with me, it's partially my responsibility to maintain her pacemaker, so off we went today to the cardiologist's office for a test with the guy from Medtronic. After offering my mom a seat and introducing himself, he proceeded to attach a box-like monitor to her chest. A few moments of studying a computer screen ensued, and then he proclaimed that the pacemaker was working just fine. And that it was only "pacing" at 1%. Which kinda makes me wonder why she needs a pacemaker. In any event, the thing is good for at least another four years. My mom will be 92 if she's still on the planet four years from now. Her pacemaker will be out of juice, and she will require surgery to implant a new one. I really don't have the energy or the desire to think very far ahead these days, but if I did, I might lose a little sleep over this one. Isn't there some way to just plug her into a charger?

It's young people who design these things, no doubt. Surgery? Sure! Then let's go out and party.

In any event, getting a pacemaker implanted is probably less tiring than getting a flu shot--or so it seemed today at the local CVS. Here's a clipboard. Stand here and fill out all these forms. Stand here some more, while I punch a jillion keys on my computer and wonder why something is not working.
I asked if there was somewhere my mom might sit down. Yes, of course,  there was an area with chairs--halfway across the store. And yes, bring the forms back to the counter. And yes, walk back over to where the chairs are to get the shot. The woman walks with a cane (and a lovely new English chestnut cane it is) for fuck sake. Slowly. And I doubt that she's the only senior to come in for a flu shot. Move the chairs, people. Make it easy. Is your mother in our system, the white coat finally asked me after several more minutes of tapping away at her keyboard after my mom had hiked over to the chairs. Does she get her prescriptions filled here? No, I said, but she buys her gin here.

And yes, that was why we chose CVS for a flu shot. 20% off on your next purchase!!! Well, that didn't go smoothly either, but in the end, thanks to a couple of diligent employees working the check stand, the saga ended happily. And we got an second 20% off coupon for the next gin run.

I arrived home feeling like I'd consider having a pacebreaker installed, but the smell of gin always cheers me up.


Mel said...

My mother just had a pacemaker installed as well, and it seems such a poorly designed device to me. Surgery is so hard on the elderly, heck it was hard on me, the upper middle aged. My mom is like a bionic woman now, with fake knees, turbo-charged heart and blood and body chemically altered from two rounds of chemotherapy. Each fix has taken a toll on her, physically and mentally. It's hard to watch from the sidelines. You are an angel for taking such good care of your mother.

I am so glad you got your 20% off coupon from the ridiculous CVS and hope you enjoy the gin.

Ms. Moon said...

1%? Jeez. That hardly seems necessary.
I have seen so many instances of old people being talked into pacemakers when they didn't really want them.
I don't know. Doesn't seem fair that if you're sick enough to die your pacemaker just won't let you. Not your mother's situation.
Did you talk to the CVS about that chair situation? That seems ridiculously obvious a thing to change.

Young at Heart said...

sheesh......make mine a double!!

Maggie World said...

Hi there I met you the other night with Elizabeth et al. I so enjoyed meeting you.

Love this entry. Laughed out loud at the "no but she buys her gin here."