Miraculous Advancements

Bill Neinast


Last Friday I stepped up to the chest of drawers in my bedroom and picked up a small, palm sized monitor from its base. 
A small screen in the base immediately lit up with an animated illustration telling me or showing me to place the monitor on my pacemaker.  As soon as the monitor was in place, a moving bar appeared on the screen showing that the readings were being sent to some far distant receiver.  In a few days, I will get a call from my cardiologist’s office telling me the results of the test and when to repeat it.

This quick check of the device implanted in my chest to keep my heart in rhythm was a few days after I performed another medical test at home.  That day, I removed a monitor smaller than the one just described from its case.  I stuck a small plastic strip into its receptacle and a screen lit up showing that the strip was of the proper series.  I hit the on button and an hour glass appeared on the screen, showing me the device was starting up.  

As soon as the system was ready, a three minute countdown began.  I pricked my finger with a small spring activated needle, placed a drop of blood on the strip I had inserted, and, in a few seconds, my INR or Coumadin level appeared on the screen.  The results were transmitted to a reporting station and  sometime later someone in my cariologist’s office called to review my medication and told me when to take the next test.

WOW!. How times have changed.  Just a year ago, both tests would have required a visit in the doctor’s office.  

Go back even further to my childhood days and take a peek into home medicine chests.  There you would find on one small shelf an under-the-tongue thermometer (maybe, or would Mom take your temperature by holding her hand on your forehead) and bottles of iodine, Vicks VaporRub, and castor oil. The doctor was called only for serious injuries and illnesses that put one to bed.

Thinking of these changes in medical practice prompted a review of some of the many other changes I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Take, for example, the automobile.  I remember seeing vehicles on the road that required a strong man to start.  The magneto (whatever that was) had to be set and then the engine was started by turning a crank under the radiator that moved the pistons until ignition was started.  The cranker’s arm could be broken if he did not disconnect the crank fast enough after ignition started.

If there was a wiper on the windshield, it had to be operated by hand.  If there were headlights, they might be home installed carbide lights.

How does that compare with the car now sitting in your garage?  You can start it with the push of a button while sitting in your living room.  When you go out to get into a nice warm or cool car you talk to it and it replies.

You tell it, “Go to 1111 XYZ Street.”  The car replies in a very pleasant voice, “Exit to State Highway 3 and turn left.”  Then it guides you by alerting you when to turn right or left until it tells you that you are at the destination.

Soon that will even be old hat.  Driverless vehicles are already on the road in test stages.  Soon, we will be able to get our car warmed or cooled while watching the TV news in the living room. When ready, get comfortable in the car, tell it where you want to go, and lean back to enjoy a good book or visit with a friend by phone.

So here’s the perspective.

Medicine and automobiles are just the tip of the iceberg of “miraculous” advancements and changes during my lifetime.  What will my great grandchildren be reminiscing about early next century?

Only time will tell.



HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3