Before and after
Before and After: With thanks to Audi and Monza for the images

To all the doctors at the CHUV who seem surprised and annoyed every time I make an appointment for some new alarming symptom or side effect of medication – and can’t understand why I don’t accept every new problem as “normal” – I want you to try this thought experiment:

Imagine you have a vintage car worth a lot of money, that you have looked after carefully ever since you acquired it.

You have even learnt mechanical skills so that you can service, fix and tune it yourself. You take it for long drives, and get it checked out by a specialist mechanic once a year. One day your specialist tells you a big engine revision is needed because the car risks exploding suddenly while you’re tooling  happily along the highway.

So you leave your cherished vehicle with him, and after a few days he informs you that the repairs have gone well. There is just one problem – you can now no longer drive it more than 100 metres without needing to top it up with more fuel.

To deal with this unexpected problem, he’s carved out a section of the back seats to make space for a limited supply of extra fuel. Also, although he doesn’t warn you about this, after retrieving your car from the shop, it does odd things like speed up when you hit the brakes or turn left when you turn the steering wheel to the right. When you call him about this, he says that these little things are quite common after an engine overhaul, but he cannot under any circumstances tell you how long such strange behaviours are going to continue.

Only one thing is for sure – you can only do 100 metres at a time without stopping to add more fuel. Your days of tooling along the highway are over.

Would you just shut up and agree that you’re getting a good deal? Or would you ask questions? Would you not expect, at the very least, an apology from the expert and the garage he is a member of? You’d probably sue him for damages!

Being 100% dependent on a pacemaker as a side-effect of valve surgery is a bug, not a feature, however you try to spin it.

To see a picture of the pacemaker implanted under my shoulder, click here. It is not some invisible thing they’ve put deep inside me. It gets in my way when I raise my left arm and I have been told not to do certain sports.

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