Tag: life and death

The Kill Switch.

kill switch

Such a loaded term, right? I love all of the potential hyperbole hidden in this simple phrase. A kill switch – as most of you know – is basically an emergency shut down. One single switch that aborts all operations. Immediately.

It came in pretty handy when one brilliant little tech-nerd discovered a kill switch in the software during the WannaCry ransomware attack in May of 2017 (sure, the evil hackers just fixed their flaw and went right on terrorizing the world – but finding that initial kill switch still slowed the spread and allowed the world to catch up and defend itself).

So kill switches are typically a safety measure. A good thing.

But what if it’s in your heart?

My maternal grandmother died of sudden cardiac death at 62. Then my mom died of sudden cardiac death at 67. And everyone knows that if something happens once, it’s merely anecdotal, but if it happens twice, it’s a pattern. (I just totally made that up, but it sounds believable, right?)

So there is the possibility that I managed to inherit a genetic kill switch. One hardwired to my heart that can be randomly triggered (sometime when I’m in my 60s and standing in my kitchen, apparently, based on historical evidence). Which would be a total bummer.

That’s a pretty lousy pattern to be next in line for. (By the way, can I tell you how much my husband *loves* it when I bring up this morbid topic?)

Now, I know, the fix seems simple. Find the kill switch. Disable it. But my mom went to a cardiologist *and* had a stress test ONE year before she died and got a clean bill of health. Which means this particular switch is a sneaky little bastard. And, thanks to an exceptionally lazy coroner who chalked her death up to “heart disease” (you know, minus the blockages, narrowed arteries, enlargement, etc.), we have no real clues as to where the damn switch might be hidden.

I turned 45 this year. So, I figure I’ve got about 20 years to find the kill switch hidden in my code and reprogram it so that it doesn’t randomly abort all operations, so to speak.

Piece of cake. I just have to hack my heart.

*NOTE*

Full disclosure, I wrote this post last fall and hadn’t posted it. Since then, my brother went to a particularly wily cardiologist that discovered a genetic defect in his heart resulting in a bi-valve in his aorta instead a tri-valve. Or something like that. My brother had open-heart surgery in January and they put in a titanium valve so now my brother audibly ticks and sets off metal detectors but he may have figured out the hack. Which spoiled this post. But saved his life. ❤

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