The folks at Paracor, who manufacture the HeartNet and are funding the Peerless-HF study of which Patty is a part, were kind enough to send along a couple of images of the Heart Net for us to share here. Pretty cool, huh? Nearly everyone thinks so, except perhaps for the owner of the heart to the left.
We were just playing with one of the nets a moment ago (relax--it wasn't Patty's), and you'd be amazed by how flexible it is. You could wrap a Mini Cooper complete with a roof rack, a family of four and two mountain bikes inside it and still have room for a small camper and/or a bass boat. I'm exaggerating slightly, but I was surprised by how flexible it is.
I thought about tucking the demonstrator net in my pocket and then fashioning it into some sort of bracelet for Patty; my guess is that when these hit the market they'll cost more than any jewelry I'll ever afford for my wife. There's another problem, though...has anyone figured out what shoes go best with one of these things? I still think it would make for a fascinating conversation piece. "Oh, you got your bracelet at Tiffany? How nice. I picked mine up at Edward Hospital."
Jeanne (the study coordinator and too nice a lady for me to steal the net from) is working on getting an actual image of the device in place on Patty's heart, which I will share if we can get it. I did actually ask, before the procedure, if there was any way to get a photo of some aspect of the surgery but, as anticipated, didn't find any takers on the surgical team. When I do ask such questions, I usually get the "what is wrong with you" look. I can't speak for everyone else, but I'd like the bragging rights associated with saying that I know all of Patty...the person on the outside and, thanks to medical photography, on the inside as well. Still, the team's reticence is probably for the best, as I would have trouble updating the blog if I fainted every time I looked at it.
I do know that if Patty and I could see a video (and I'm talking about what the doctors see, not some cheerful, sanitized publicity clip), we'd watch it for sure, even if we had to keep a pail handy at our feet. We don't like some of the cards Patty has been dealt, but if she must go through what she has and will, we may as well become more educated in the process. From what I've seen about medical procedures, ignorance is seldom bliss.
I'll give full credit to everyone involved with this study for their honesty about what to expect; for example, nobody ever said that it wouldn't hurt. In fact, they said quite the opposite. The pain lived up to all their promises. And yet, again as promised, it seems to be getting more bearable by the hour (easy for me to say, yes?)
In our abundant sitting-around time, we've been speculating that the cost to Paracor for each person who participates in the study must be well into six figures, even if the hospitals give the company some form of discount (about which I'm of course speculating). Nights in the ICU, tons of drugs, surgical services, echocardiograms and many before-and-after consultations have to all add up. Plus, I'll be honest--from Patty's experience in the first 24 hours, patients need a lot of one-on-one attention, which probably doesn't come cheap.
Having said all this, if the device works as we hope it will, I think we just scored one incredible bargain, and Patty can pat herself on the back for advancing heart research. I did see something online that suggested Paracor had pulled together more than $44 million for this research; that's a lot of IV bags, even at hospital prices.
Patty is sleeping, and continues to seem much better than she was earlier this morning.
That's it for now.
I call this one "Nothing but Net"...get it?