Good thing I love technology. As a NICU nurse, I see plenty of it. I usually work nights, so there's one piece of equipment I don't see often. That's the machine used for echocardiograms -- ultrasound pictures of the heart. Sometimes the tech comes in early in the morning before I leave. If I have time, I love to watch the echo technician at work.
The first time I saw an echocardiogram in progress, I couldn't make out a single thing in the grainy screen. As time passed and color was added, I could see the flashes of color that signified blood flow -- and that showed the abnormal blood flow from cardiac defects. I still couldn't make out structures, though.
One recent morning, the echo tech rolled in a machine I'd never seen before. It was huge. The screen was larger and the machine looked very new. I had a few extra minutes, and a good vantage point, so I watched fascinated as she pointed out valves, ventricles, major blood vessels. It was amazing. The images actually looked like the structures -- finally. I'd never have been able to name them without her help, but the tour was fascinating.
As I watched, I appreciated the advances in imaging available to us, but what struck me more than anything else was the courage of those pioneers in pediatric cardiac surgery who didn't have access to any of this technology. I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the decision to make that first incision.