My Favorite Cyborg
I am pro-science and pro-technology. I have a pretty good reason. Her name is Alivia and along with my flesh and blood, she is my favorite person on the planet.
Of course, she is also a cyborg.
By natural order, and some people's definition of God's will, she shouldn't be alive. She was sent into this world by God with that heart defect that drops healthy young athletes dead on the basketball court. She remembers being faint and occasionally passing out during her active youth sports career. No one noticed much - a few minutes on the bench. She also has a immune disease that often kills young and kills badly. Fortunately God also sent onto the planet teams of scientists, doctors and engineers determined to do their best to keep her alive.
They have used lots of fancy tools and lots of toxic chemicals on her. Sometimes they used them before they really knew what they were doing. Several times before I met her they tried to save her with that technique where they use toxic chemicals to poison you right up to death's door hoping the momentum will send the disease through without you. It worked. Probably. Some of the chemicals have long term effects, one of them in particular, as it turns out, raises by a lot the chance that you will get cancer. But long-term effects presume long term life, and she is here to face the risk.
After the poisons, the heart thing finally got noticed. When her heart kept trying to stop. So they implanted her with an on-board computer that sits just above her heart with wires that go into her heart. It counts and thinks about her every heartbeat. If need be, it keeps time for her. If she dies it will try and shock her back into life.
And she takes more chemicals. Her pill box looks like Willy Wonka's storeroom.
And without all this messing with nature, this human experimentation with the certainty of unforeseen consequences, I would have never known her. Never loved her. Never been made better by her.
I have seen her tell her fancy pants cardiologist that she has no intention of ceasing to ride her motorcycle. I have seen her tell him that there are lots of things worse than death. I was there when she made him promise that he would turn the computer off if she asked him to. I have seen her tell him that she has too much to live for to be worried about it.
This morning he told her that her cyborg bits have been put on a recall list. Inconvenient that. Seems that maybe they didn't have all the bugs worked out. They lost her on table for a few minutes putting the thing in. Nobody really wants to mess with it, so she decided to wait till it is due to have it's battery changed in a couple years and mess with the bad bits then. Her consulting scientist is ok with her courage. He was a little stunned that she wasn't scared or angry.
I had to take a couple of deep breaths. Then she told me that she had decided not to be angry, and had decided not to worry, because both of those things waste time, and she has more important things to do.
Photo by Heather Espana McGeehon