As many of you know my Dad recently moved to Reno. His house in Escondido, California is for sale. He was staying with Duke and I while he waited for an apartment to open up at Classic Residence by Hyatt. A beautiful apartment overlooking the courtyard became available a couple of weeks ago and he is now moved in and settled. It is really nice having him near by.
Dad has been working to get established with new doctors in Reno. Last week he found a cardiologist who he likes. On Tuesday he had an echo-cardiogram. I went with him and got to stand behind the technician while she used the machine to look at his heart. The echo-cardiogram machine looked a lot like like the ultrasound machines used on pregnant women to check on their unborn babies. As teh technician placed the wand on Dad's heart you could see it quite clearly.
Looking at Dad's heart as it pumped was so cool. I could see the valves opening and closing like the swinging doors in an old western saloon. Dad's heart on the screen was about 6 inches long and 3 inches across. I assumed that it was life size but she told me that the picture was enlarged. The upper heart chamber is only about 5 centimeters (2 inches) across. It is impressive to think of such a little organ pumping blood all through his body.
I would love to have worked on the software for the echo-cardiogram machine. My first programming job out of college was working on air traffic control software. I found it fascinating. I suspect that interpreting the bouncing sound waves for the echo-cardiogram is similar to interpreting radar returns for air traffic control. The software has to interpret the returns, display them, and give the operator the tools to analyze what she is seeing. What a wonderful challenge.