This afternoon my mother and I took my grandmother to see her pacemaker doc. She had a new pacemaker installed? Inserted? Implanted? whatever...in December. Last Thursday, I wrote a blog over at Delilah Devlin's talking about watching the Apollo moon landing as a nine year old child. Amazing technological advances over the last fifty years.
But today, watching my frail eighty-nine year old grandmother, I realized that I've seen nothing compared to her. She grew up with no electricity, no phone, no running water, no indoor plumbing. One of her chores was to pull water up from the well with a bucket. Her mean spirited male cousin enjoyed spiting in the bucket after she hauled it out of the well. She'd have to pour out the water and wash the bucket before hauling up more.
She remembers when people supposedly died of heartburn because they didn't understand heart attacks. Her own mother died at the age of forty-nine due to complications from gall bladder surgery. Gall bladder surgery! My mother had her gall bladder removed as an outpatient last summer. The difference between medicine in 1946 and in 2009.
And today, the doctor showed us the monitor for Granny's pacemaker. Her pacemaker has gone wireless! The box hooks up to the phone line. There's a splitter so you can still connect a phone. You place the monitor near the bed. During the night, the monitor will run a scan of Granny's pacemaker without her ever knowing. If there's a problem, the monitor can send an alert to the doctor's office.
When she was born, the technology we take for granted wasn't even dreamed of. Today, she walks around with a phone in her purse, a tiny device implanted under her skin to regulate her heart and a monitor doing things I thought only Star Trek could do.
What a world we live in and take for granted. Even now, I'm writing on a laptop with more computing power than rooms full of computers when man walked on the moon. I'll click on a button and send the post out into the ether where anyone can read it, anywhere in the world. How cool is that. Wonderous times we live in.
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