Saturday, August 6, 2011

Batteries Included

By Mary Margret Daughtridge

Wednesday August 3, I was so deep in denial that I was about to drown and hadn’t noticed the water was up to my chin. And rising. I had waked up feeling unusually bad—even worse than the terrible, which had become my new normal in the last three months. When I checked my blood pressure and pulse, the BP was 88/54 and my pulse was 41.

Fortunately, I already had a doctor’s appointment that day and as the CMA took my blood pressure I thought I should ask her what the red zone for BP and pulse was. Like how low did it have to be before I called 911? She turned round Hershey’s Kiss brown eyes on me and after a second said with Spock like curiosity, as if she’d never pondered the question before, “I don’t know. Let me ask the doctor.”

Ten minutes later I was wheeled into the ER where, unprecedented in my experience, the clerk waved me on and said he’d fill out the forms and take my insurance card later. I had never before been ushered into the presence of the gods of medicine without proof of ID and insurance.

As the minion rolled me past cubbies and glass-enclosed rooms and curtained-areas, I saw all the patients, and in a world-changing identity switch, for the first time I was not a guest, not a visitor – I was not, as always before, there to help or support them. I was them.

Secure in my denial, I was a little ticked off when all the doctors, nurses, PAs, orderlies, and even the housekeeping staff assumed I was being admitted for a pacemaker.

Fast forward – today is Friday and I have a pacemaker. In case you didn’t know, pacemakers are about the size of a silver dollar and the price of a new car.

As romance writers we are concerned with affairs of the heart. We describe and ascribe feelings, states of being, and even truth as arising from or about the heart. Think of all the ways we use it: heartfelt, softhearted... Linguistically courage and heart derive from the same root word. A lover is a heartthrob.

I find myself wondering, where does a heart that needs to be wired to a battery fit in? I pondered this little philosophical conundrum with a friend, also a romance writer, who suggested I make friends with my pacemaker and name it. I decided in the best romantic tradition to call it my beloved. Like the romance writer I am, I named it mon coeur.

And one day after surgery to insert the tiny device, I feel better than I have in a couple of years. My friends and loved ones look at me and exclaim, “At last, you’re back!”

And I am. This time, batteries included.


  1. Wow, Mary Margaret. I'm SO glad you're feeling better. When my mom was diagnosed with COPD and placed on oxygen, she felt amazing for the first time in over a year. It's amazing what medicine can do for us these days.

    Mon coeur is a beautiful term for a beautiful gift. Welcome back, MM.

  2. How frightening! Convenient that you were there, though, to be tended to immediately.

    I trust that your heart will beat beautifully for many years to come.

  3. Mary Margret, this is just scary! That God you're okay. I'm so glad you're feeling better.

  4. MM: Only you could write something scary as hell and wind up making me smile about it. Love the name of your new "heart throb" and very glad that you are feeling so much better. I hear the name of a new book for you to write..."Batteries Included." Now, hmmmm, what could need batteries. Maybe Olivia better write that one.

  5. MM, I'm so glad you're okay. Your heartthrobs keep lots of other hearts beating, so you have a lot of books left to write! Take care of yourself and keep the batteries charged:)

  6. Welcome to the world of pacemakers. I've had one for 7.5 years now and it's not too bad. Look on the bright side! You can't really be put into the itty-bitty MRI tubes any more. :) That was a major plus for me.

    You'll be sore for a few days.

    Glad you went in to get checked though and you'll feel so much better than you already do in a few days.

  7. I will read every comment, but typing with the left arm lashed tightly to one's side by a sling is really hard. Forgive me if I don't respond to every one individually.

    I appreciate all your comments and treasure the good wishes!

  8. Oh, MM, I'm so glad you're all right! I have low blood pressure to the point where they take it more than once but never that low. That's pretty scary stuff! Feel better, sweetie and take it easy for a few days.

  9. I'm so glad you're feeling better, MM. Isn't modern medicine amazing?! Take care, m'dear.

  10. Loved this post, MM! I had a similar experience in my family, so I can sure relate. Thank heavens for new technology.

  11. Dear Ms. MM! thank God you are OK. I hope you are in the pink soon and back to writing.

    I just finished reading "Sealed with a Promise," and your "Seal" books are so timely, given the binladen incident and last weekend the death of those Navy SEALs. You do them such an honor by making them real to those of us they protect. I can't wait until your next book comes out. Please Keep Writing and thank you "Mon coeur!.

    Barbara McGinley

  12. Barbara!

    I'm so happy you popped in to comment.

    The comment you left on my website had a faulty email addy. The reply I sent you bounced. And I couldn't figure out which Barbara McGinley on Facebook was you.

    If I have a good address, I'd love to reply at length to your note.

    In the meantime,it's gratifying to know my books have meant so much to you. Like you, when I learn though the news that SEALs have died, I cry. Even though I don't know them personally, they are mine.

  13. Thanks for all your good wishes for recovery.

    Quick update: I'm a little stronger day, and really looking forward to getting back in to writing form.