By Len A.Hynds

To most people who are fitted with a heart pacemaker, the changing of the battery, the leads or both is normally a simple matter, what is termed a minor operation.

However to a Laryngectomee who breathes through the neck there can be problems, as the distance to the lungs is so short, that the build-up of mucus in the trachea is a constant problem, creating breathing difficulties. So for most operations a Laryngectomee has to be kept awake, with only the area of the operation being completely deadened, as only the Laryngectomee knows when a possible blockage to breathing is occurring.

A six monthly clinical check told them that my pacemaker needed changing, so I went in and in the operating room was introduced to the two doctors and all the technicians, as also with metallic heart valves, all sorts of things had to be watched in my bionic body. So I chatted to them whilst they were doing the job which normally would only take about 30 minutes, but they told me that they couldn't remove the old leads, as the ends touching the correct parts of the heart had become too attached, and to pull too hard would damage the walls of the heart.

I was part of all this interesting conversation, and it was decided to thread new leads alongside the old ones. This was eventually done, with a lot of pushing and shoving, with me making mischievous remarks that any future X-Rays of my chest with all those wires would look like a plate of spaghetti.

After one hour and ten minutes they had me all stitched up again, with everything working fine. As they all cleared away, with the doctors washing their hands, I sat on the edge of the operating table with feet dangling, waiting for my mobile bed to be wheeled in from outside, when I said to them all, the doctors, nurses and technicians, I want to thank you all for doing a first class job. I am really impressed. Have any of you ever thought about doing this for a living."

Their faces were a picture, when luckily they all burst out laughing.