The Heart Implant Journal


The first time I put my stethoscope on Schroeder’s chest to listen to his heart and lungs, I drew back in surprise. I laughed at myself a little. What did I expect? All I heard was the clicking of the metal valves which sounded very loud through a stethoscope. It gave me a start, and only then do I believe the reality of it struck me. I was taking care of a human being without a heart. I am a part of history, I thought. Through my mind ran the Wright Brothers, Magellan, and Columbus. And then I looked at Bill DeVries, and I saw him for the pioneer that he is. Impressions continue to bombard my brain. You can hear his heart easily without the aid of a stethoscope. It is a constant reminder of what an anomaly we have here. I have asked him if it bothers him. He is a surly sort, and isn’t taken too much conversation.

Cindy is a problem, and one that I did not expect. She sets herself apart from the rest of us nurses, even though she is the youngest of us. She was a close friend of mine and the distance is more marked each day. I notice it is the same with the others, I wonder what has happened to my friend. The other nurses began backing up from her attitude soon after she began doing her haughty act.

Early in the morning Lansing came in spiffed up in his suit and tie, looking like he was probably going to talk to the press. He was getting information and writing it onto a pad in his hand. He was asking a lot of questions of us. At one point he looked at Larry and asked about the pressure settings on the Utah Drive. Larry said 51%. Lansing’s eyebrows went up. You could not see the rest of his face because of his mask. “That’s high”, he said to Larry. It was both a question and a statement. Larry stated, “That’s real high,” both answering the question and making his own statement. Larry is the expert on the Utah Drive. Lansing could not question him, because, of course, Larry knows a lot more about the Utah Drive than Lansing. Larry had told me earlier that night that he had the pressure higher than he had ever had it on Barney Clark (the first experimental patient in Utah). He also increased the systole, or systolic time. It seems very evident, early on, that the keepers of the shop are going to be DeVries, Larry Hastings, the R.T.’s and the R.N.’s. Lansing will play “Meet the Press.”


29 Nov 84

Yesterday I worked the regular CCU area. But I had my first opportunity to see the whole Schroeder family. It seems rather strange to recognize all of them from interviews on T.V. They rather have a celebrity status all their own. They were all cheerful-appearing and optimistic.
I assisted in getting Schroeder up on the side of the bed, along with Dr. DeVries and others. Then I stayed out of the room the rest of the night because my patient in CCU #7 has staph and strep infections cultured from his sputum. He is a flat-line EEG patient who will be removed from the respirator today. I spent much of my time working with his wife and family last night. He is only 44 years old with no previous history of heart disease. It is a real shame. CPR at the scene might have saved him. I always wonder, in cases like this, if family members have a hard time realizing they didn’t save a family member with CPR because they didn’t know how. Families seldom mention it. I can never figure out why everyone doesn’t take a CPR class. You just never know when it will happen to you. A lot of people who drop over with a heart attack could be saved, if just one person had taken the time to learn CPR and applied it until an ambulance arrived.

Well, tonight I have Schroeder from 7PM to 7AM. Hard shift for me. I work night shift rarely. I’m more humane to myself since I worked night shift at EMS. I only work nights when I have to. Cindy worked last night 7PM to 7AM. There was very little conversation between us. It is difficult to have a “cordial only” relationship with one you were once so close to.

We have set aside a room to receive all the gifts that are pouring in from all over the country. One guy flew his Lear Jet in and took a limousine to our hospital, came up to the CCU and wanted to give Schroeder a Gold Rolex watch. We didn’t allow him in the room, so he gave the watch to our head nurse to give to him. It is amazement to me. It’s not that I don’t understand that Schroeder has captured the attention of the world, but I didn’t expect people to shower him with gifts. I’m in a strange new world.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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