Jessie’s grade 10 class had Dr Chris Barnard and Heart Transplants as a subject last week.
When she told me I asked, ‘Did you tell them your Mama worked with him?’ Actually, no she hadn’t. She vaguely knew Mom had done it, but wasn’t confident enough to step forward. My shy Jess.
So out with Aitch’s old albums of her working next to the old sleazy charmer, still quite young back before 1983 (when he retired). She says he tried his luck to get her to go out with him one night, as he apparently did with all the nubiles on the team.
And there in the pics was Aitch in theatre greens and mask: The cardio-vascular perfusionist operating the heart-lung machine – ‘the oxygenator’ – that kept the patient alive once the blood circulation had been diverted away from their own heart and lungs. And there was the famous cad watching. And there was a heart in a jar.
Off to school went the album the next day and Jess was the focus of much attention and oohing and aahing. Which she loved.