February 25, 2006


I got one of those calls you never want to receive on Thursday AM. Stupidly, I followed my norm and left my cell phone in the car when I went to the gym. So, somewhere after mile 2, the loudspeaker beckoned me to the front desk for a call.

E was on the line, and he simple said:

Your sister called. She said it's bad.

I told him I was on my way home and immediately ran to my car. I tossed myself into clean clothes, threw an odd assortment of necessities into a backpack and hopped in the car. I fought traffic and found a new way to my hometown to avoid the commuter traffic.

I made it in more than enough time.

In fact, my dad's a trooper. He's doing much better. We had a very serious scare and he almost died, but now, he's back in this world and amazed at the time he lost to the fog. I'm so thankful. I'm also so overwhelmed at the support of family & friends.

But the funniest thing I learned from this experience is that debugging is debugging. The ICU is a great place if you've got someone sick you are worried about. They are hooked up to all sorts of monitors and you can just watch the screen. You can have instantaneous information about their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen perfusion, heart beating pattern, breathing pressure and rate, and central venous pressure.

Imagine my surprise when the central venous pressure measurement came back unsatisfactory and the nurse tapped the plastic joint a few times with her hand and hit the reboot button on the monitor. The reading was still ludicrous. She didn't believe the measurement and with the intuition of one who has done this before, she walked the line with her hands and tapped each joint, turned each valve on and off and did all of the binary debugging techniques that one employes in software, mechanical and electrical debugging. It was somewhat disconcerting, since this is my dad's life on the line. But, since he was obviously doing better, it was also amusing. Ins and Outs, black box testing, white box testing. Rudimentary as it may seem, it's what they do with the human body too.


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