It’s an Ill Wind that Blows…

… and her name is Hanna.

Hanna is wandering around the Caribbean right now, seeing the sights and touring all the beaches. But the long range forecast indicates there is a good chance that she is going to swing North and come up the Eastern Seaboard, possibly making landfall near Savannah, Georgia. There are still a lot of IF’s and BUTs in the forecast, but my local TV weatherman advised his viewers to keep an eye on this storm. So if I miss a few posts later this week, Hanna’s probably the reason.

Here’s an interesting article about Medtronic‘s new pacemaker that is designed to be able to function correctly during and after an MRI scan. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and pacemakers do not get along with MRI scanners.

MRI scanners do their thing by placing you inside of a giant electromagnet. Your pacemaker, of course, is made of metal. Not only that, but when the Pacemaker Tech adjusts the setting of your pacemaker, she uses a magnet to do it.

So it doesn’t matter how tall we are, pacemaker patients don’t get to ride the MRI scanner. I found this out when my Cardiologist mentioned that I needed to to be evaluated for a heart transplant.

Transplant?!?! Apparently the look on my face was priceless, as she quickly added that everyone received an evaluation, and it was easier to do it when everything was going well. So I went down to the Transplant Unit.

“We’ll do a physical exam, a 12 lead EKG, a stress test, and do an MRI,” the program assistant told me.

“Sorry, Miss, I have a pacemaker,” I responded.

“Someday a smart person will figure out how to make a pacemaker out of wood,” she said, rolling her eyes.

So instead of the MRI, they did an ultrasound on me. And since the Transplant team also wanted an ultrasound of the prospective patient’s liver, they did that test at the same time.

Your cadiac ultrasound looks good, they reported to me a week later. But there is a “spot” on your liver.

Say what?

Yes, a spot. Or a shadow. Or something. We aren’t sure what.

OK, I said, what do we do about it?

We wait a month, and then we do another ultrasound. Once we determine if it has changed, we’ll know more. Until then, try not to worry.

I swear, I try not to worry… but I won the Silver Medal in the Worryathon at the last Olympic Games. (I lost to  a Russian, who was slightly more paranoid than I am.) As always, the worst possible outcome jumped into my mind: the Big C.

Finally the month was up and it was time for the second ultrasound. The doc reported some good news: My spot was in exactly the same place it was a month ago. Maybe it is a spot, or a shadow, or just the way my innards are put together. But it’s pretty much harmless. They’ll do another ultrasound in 5 years to make sure it isn’t up to no good.

Maybe by then, I can get inside of the MRI Scanner!

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