I rang up my entry into the New Year in a way I never projected – in a hospital awaiting gallbladder surgery. Don’t worry, I’m OK, but as I was getting to the point that an operation could be performed, I lay in a hospital bed either reading a book or watching TV, or awaiting the next nurse’s visit to draw blood, take my temperature or blood pressure.
Suddenly, a thought that intrigued me crossed my mind – what if there was not a reliable source of electric power during my surgery and recovery period? Hospitals are well prepared with generators in the event of an outage, but I was thinking about what it would be like if there was not a reliable source of energy at all times. I looked across the room and saw the television. “I could handle not having a TV,” I thought to myself.
…what if there was not a reliable source of electric power during my surgery and recovery period?
Lights. A definite, “Need to have,” since if there would be no TV I could at least read a book. Daytime, not a problem, but when the sun sets we have a different story. Next, clock on the wall. Need it, too, since I could not wear my wristwatch attached to machines as I was.
Then my eyes wandered around the room to see what relied on electricity. I had this IV in my left arm that was hooked to a drip, which in turn was plugged in, providing me with the right amount of saline solution and assorted anti-biotics. What would I do without power for this? There was a battery but it did indicate that the battery had to be recharged.
More and more I realized how important it was to have a reliable source of electricity come from dispatchable power plants like Cooper Nuclear Station, Gerald Gentleman Station and Sheldon Station.
The examples came to me one after another: The device used to take my temperature every three hours relied on electricity. They certainly could use the old glass kind but this was much more convenient and, I would presume, more accurate. I had an ultrasound done after I was admitted, and it also needed electricity to give the doctors some clues as to my medical issues. Keeping watch on my vitals was important as they continued to monitor my blood pressure and in post-surgery that became a constant occurrence. Even the hospital bed needed power to raise and lower.
OK, you can draw blood without electricity and a stethoscope doesn’t require power. But can you get those blood samples analyzed quickly without electricity? I would imagine the response time for test results would be much slower without electricity. And for the nurses who kept an eye on me, well, they were always moving their rolling portable computers into my room to enter details of my vitals, so doctors could view information on how their number one patient was progressing.
…[we] don’t realize just how important electricity is to our health.
And although I can’t tell you how important electricity was during surgery, (I don’t remember a thing from pre-op until I awoke in the recovery room), I am sure there were numerous clever and remarkable devices that relied on electric power, all contributing to my successful operation.
My recent experience really brought home to me just how important it is to have a reliable source of electricity. We usually just take that reliability for granted and expect power to be there when we hit the “on” switch, but don’t realize just how important electricity is to our health until we are in the position that I was in.