What I Expect to Learn Today

…is whether the metal valve in my aorta sets off airport metal detectors.

Yes, the family is leaving early in the day for a quiet (two teenage boys, cough cough) week's holiday to a house in a location which if not in the absolute middle of nowhere is at least on the edge of it. But only, promises the rental ad, about 30 minutes from somewhere. Even if it is, we later discover, some 75 feet from the road to the house.

To get there from here will involve a short flight as I didn't feel up to the very long drive we might otherwise have taken. Then we will still have a car ride of some length. The house is well suited, allegedly, for lounging about — something I'm getting quite practiced at. There are supposed to be great views. And if I want exercise, well, the house is on a mountain side.

There's supposed to be broadband, so we may be on the information highway even if we're just on the edge of the paved grid. Or there may not be broadband, in which case there will be very little posting for a week, but that doesn't mean I've had a relapse. Or, there may be broadband and I still may not be posting much.

(As regards the metal detectors, I have this card I'm supposed to give anyone who wants to point a magnetic field at me about the metal inside me. It tells them the safety parameters beyond which the fields can hurt me. It looks terribly easy to counterfeit, so I wonder if the TSA will accept it if I do set off the alarms, or if I'm headed for the back room to show them my scars.)

All this is due to the fact that I'm feeling considerably better than I was, say, two months ago. There is no question that I am recovering, slowly but generally surely. That said, I still have some way to go before reaching normal strength and especially stamina. I can do most of what I used to do — but not nearly as much of it in a day. And a cold really really knocks me out. And I'm not up to doing much work yet.

The docs said it would take six to twelve months to feel 100% and it has been about five (or four if you count from my hospital discharge) so far, so I suppose I'm on track. Teaching starts in a few weeks, and I'm confident I'll be ready to handle the one class I'm scheduled for. Whether I'll be up to much of anything else remains to be seen.

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5 Responses to What I Expect to Learn Today

  1. I don’t think a heart valve will be enough to set off the detectors. I have a metal rod implanted into one of my legs due to a bone injury, and it turns me into a metal detector detector. I can always tell if they’re active or are theater, because if they’re active, I would set them off even if I went through naked.

    The security people are surprisingly blase about the issue – they apparently deal with it all the time, given the number of people going through airports who have various medical conditions.

    What they’ll do is run the hand-held detectors over you to verify it. But it doesn’t require a strip-search.

  2. Tyrone J says:

    I would hate to have to have any surgery that necessitated having a piece of metal left inside of me. Just too many trigger happy TSA agents and laxed US gun laws: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/07/20/gun-control-or-lack-thereof-around-the-world/

    It’s a recipe for disaster. Good luck with airport security!

  3. Chuck says:

    Broadband “on the road”…. stop at a Burger King, McDonalds, Denny’s, or even outside a hampton inn etc,
    They usually have free WiFi/Broadband, and the password seems to always be the name of the place, or even unsecured. Order a chocolate milkshake, sit in a booth, and enjoy the internet.

  4. Joe1 says:

    Metal detectors at airports always find my two hip implants. Metal detectors at federal buildings here in DC are not as sensitive. I can walk through about half of those DC metal detectors. I will say that airport TSA agents are very understanding, and they have never given me a hassle about the implants.

  5. Brautigan says:

    My wife has a PFO closure in her heart (titanium and nickel, I think), and it’s very rare that is sets anything off. She has been warned, however, to avoid strong electromagnetic fields. I assume the same applies to a valve.

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