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Life Experience

Love poem in a time of scientific medical advance

David Roberts, writer/publisher/music promoter

Love poem in a time of scientific medical advance

I used to say
Darling, we will never part.
So long as I live
you will remain
close to my heart.

But now I say,
Darling, so long as I avoid
the undertaker
you will remain
close to my pacemaker.

David Roberts

9 January 2024


Doctors/inventors had been carrying out experiments in stimulating the human heart into action from the start of the 20th century but serious attempts to use a kind of pacemaker really got under way in the late 1950s.

An early pacemaker which actually worked was one designed in 1958 by a Colombian doctor, Alberto Vejarano Laverde and an electrical engineer, Jorge Reynolds Pombo. It was designed to be carried around by the patient with wires going into the body. It weighed 45 kg and was powered by a 12 volt car battery.

I am just grateful that medical science had advanced considerably before my pacemaker was inserted into my chest.

My pacemaker

My pacemaker was inserted into my chest on 1st March 2019. The operation took about twenty minutes. Unfortunately there was a rare medical accident and one of the leads punctured a lung. This prolonged my stay in hospital and the time it took for my recovery.

My pacemaker is of an advanced kind (an ICD) which also includes a defibrillator which can deliver a powerful electric shock to restart my heart if it ever stops! In normal daily use it is set to prevent my heart rate from going below 50 beats per minute. During much of my life my heart rate was usually recorded as 40 to 45 beats per minute.

In the days in hospital before the pacemaker was inserted my heart rate was very variable  –  as low as 24 beats per minute and as high as 220 beats per minute.

The high rate was when I was having a detailed examination of my heart using an angiogram and I’m not sure if the high rate was artificially stimulated. The low rate was in the middle of a night. I was wired up to monitors at the time. The doctor who came running seemed surprised to find me conscious. I told him I felt fine. Evenso, he decided to give me an injection to stimulate a more rapid heart rate. 

How my heart problem developed is described elsewhere in my blog. LINK About heart problems

LINK How my heart problem first showed up

What exactly is my heart condition?
The full name is arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). The wall of the right chamber of my heart has become stretched so it doesn’t pump so well as it used to. Also, the electrical impulses which travel across the heart to cause it to pump have problems following the route they should take so they have become irregular. If I try to take my pulse then I discover that every few seconds my heart skips a beat.

Here’s a link to more information on the internet.

Five years on (March 2024) I feel very well and typically go jogging four times a week. I walk on hills. Swim in rivers and the sea. Dig the garden. Do painting and decorating and even hoovering.

Not everyone is so lucky with this heart problem. However, there is a wonderful charity which carries out research and provides help and support. www.cardiomyopathy.org

The other, more general heart charity doing great work is British Heart Foundation.

Book cover, Poems about love

A collection of poems about love which I wrote over a period of fifty years  –   Poems about love. How could you know? available from Amazon. LINK TO AMAZON PAGE. 
It doesn’t include the above poem but in all there are over a hundred pages of poems about various aspects of love and in many styles. After all, love is the basis of civilisation and human existence. We are all involved. It’s not just romance. It’s a varied collection based on a lifetime of observation and experience.

If you get it please comment on Amazon. Many thanks.

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

David Roberts

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