Thursday, May 20, 2010

Countdown to Assimilation: the Cardiac Adventure

I've been trying to fit in as much comedy as I can in the month of May.  Because as of June 1st, I'll be taking a little break from the comedy world.  For kind of not-really-much-choice reasons.

At 7:00 AM on Tuesday, June 1st, I'll be wheeled into an operating room at UCD Med Center for some heart surgery.  Specifically, to get my pacemaker replaced/upgraded.

I've had a pacemaker since 2001.  Heart problems are one of the fun things that come with my particular kind of Muscular Dystrophy, and it was pretty much understood that one day I'd end up getting a pacemaker.  Well, that day came kind of all of a sudden.  Things started going wrong one evening with my heart (I could clearly tell), so I got into my van, drove myself to the emergency room, and found out my heart was basically slowing down and trying to stop.  I was checked in immediately, and 24 hours later I had a pacemaker in my chest.

At the time, the pacemaker was top of the line.  Really snazzy tech, this stuff.  It has a computer chip in it that records everything my heart does, and I go in to my cardiologist every three months or so so they can put this wand thing over my chest, and that wand pulls all the data (in a very wi-fi kind of way) and puts it on a computer that they then review.  It also shows them how much time is left on my battery in there.  The estimate for battery life was about seven to eight years.  I've managed to make it for almost nine.  But it's now down to less than two months left, so it's time for a replacement.

While they could just replace the battery in it, that's just not going to cut it.  Think about the cell phone you had in 2001.  How many generations removed is it from the phone you have now?  Think about how much the technology has changed since then.  Now apply that thought to my pacemaker.  I can't even text with my pacemaker!  It doesn't surf the web, doesn't have GPS, you can't play Tetris on it...  It's now old and lame.  So it needs replacing anyway, but now I'm also in need of a combo pacemaker/defibrillator unit.  Which, unfortunately, is quite a bit bigger than the one I have, so it's going to be sore as HELL when they cut my shoulder open on the 1st of June and jam the thing in there.  I am officially geared up and ready to start my prescription painkiller dependency.  THEN I'll really feel like I'm on the road to celebrityhood.

This is what I will look like to Superman.

I'll be in the hospital for a couple of days, then home recovering.  The recovery part is mainly just recovering from the wound itself.  Hopefully that'll be mostly handled within a couple of weeks, but then I'll have the added time needing to not move my left arm very much, because the leads that go from the pacemaker into the heart aren't really locked into place (there's a certain amount of scarring needed) for about 8-10 weeks.  Not sure yet how down I'll be for this period of time, but hopefully not out of it completely for the WHOLE time.  We'll see.

So that means a break from comedy for a while as the summer begins.  But hopefully I'll make a triumphant return soon after.  But that's the final step.  First step is getting the surgery done and getting the new cybernetic implant up and running.

And to that end...

Prayers and happy vibes are, of course, welcome.  But as a special boost of good will, I have a request.  It is this.  On June 1st, at 7:00 AM (when surgery is scheduled to begin), I would like as many people as possible to play a song.  MP3, CD, record, whatever.  The choice of song is up to you, with this condition: it needs to have the word "heart" attached to it.  For example, any song from the band "Heart" will do.  You can even push it and play something by Corey Hart.  You can find heart-titled songs, such as Don Johnson's big 80's hit "Heartbeat", or Don Henley's "The Heart of the Matter"...or Stacey Q's "Two of Hearts" if you roll that way.  I won't restrict you on the song (I just had to stop myself from banning that song from Titanic), whatever floats your boat (or in the case of Titanic, sinks the #$@% thing), as you'll be the one listening to it, not me.  I'll be quite unconscious at the time.

And after you've played your song, I would ask that you please post up somewhere what you played, just so everyone can see where everyone went (so creativity and obscurity is encouraged).  That can be either here on this blog entry under comments, or on the Facebook event page (I'm about to make one of these when I finish this entry), or right on my Facebook wall.  This will make it fun.  In my opinion. 

So the countdown to my assimilation begins!  Hope to see all of you in the comedy world a couple more times (definitely at the big MDA Fundraiser at Tommy T's...right?) before it all goes down, but after that, I wanted you to know where I disappeared to.  And when I return, I hope to have a whole slew of hospital/surgery/pacemaker jokes ready to drop on stage.  This is the great thing about being a comedian.  The more things that go awry during my hospital stay and the recovery after, the better the jokes.  Woo hoo!

Again, your last chance to see me make jokes powered by the old pacemaker is Thursday, 5/27, at 7:00 PM, and your 100% of your ticket money will go right to the MDA, thanks to Tommy T's!  Hope to see you there!

And thanks, all.  From the bottom of...

I can't do it.  It's just too obvious.


  1. I call "Owner of a Broken Heart". Yes? No?

  2. Heart of Glass.