A kind and handsome sales engineer at the St. Jude Medical booth—it wasn’t a booth, really, it was at least four times the size of my living room—handed me a pacemaker much like the one Dr. Aranow had tucked into the pocket of skin beneath my late father’s collarbone years before. It was flattish, roughly ovoid and encased in titanium, the color of dull silver. About the size of a pocket watch, it looked a little like a silver dollar that had been flattened on a railroad track. “St. Jude Medical, TM,” was engraved on its side, along with the location of the factory where it was made: Sylmar, California. It fit into my palm.
I closed my hand around the tiny little machine that had saved many a life, made many a fortune, and led my family to so much unnecessary suffering.