body had been dead for a few days, but luckily for me, it hadn’t started to
decompose yet. I had all the tools I needed for the postmortem assembled and
laid out carefully on the sterile field: Pliers, various sizes of screw
drivers, a razor knife, and a Dremel tool—just in case things got dicey. Actually,
that inventory sounds more like the tools used in a Banana Republic torture
chamber than the surgeon’s tools of the trade used in a proper autopsy.
well. And there’s one other difference between this procedure and a proper postmortem:
I’ve no interest in the cause of death. We know why the Snap body died. It
reached the normal end of its natural life. What I’m really out to discover is
not the cause of death, but the cause of life. I’m out to figure out just how
the disposable Snap body works in the first place.
a white lab coat, surgical mask, and protective goggles, I centered the bright
exam light over the corpse, and got started. First I disconnected the prism-hub
tubing connector. Then I pried out the glass Humalog penfill, by some miracle
not breaking it in the process. Next, I used a flat wide-bladed screw driver to
try to pry apart the sealed seams of the body from the inside of the insulin
chamber. To my delight, the seams effortlessly split asunder. The body opened
up like a clam shell.
Nurse, put away the Dremel tool, I ordered in my
best terse-surgeon voice.
Daddy, I’m not a nurse,” objected Rio.
today. No fucking imagination. That’s the whole problem with society.
accomplishing the hardest part of the autopsy without incident, I proceeded to
drop the fucking thing on the floor while moving it to better light to
photograph it. Shit! I’ll be pulling
small screws and springs out of the bottom of my bare feet for weeks.
here’s what most of the pieces, once I put it back together as best as I could,
first thing I noticed was that it’s powered by an Energizer Bunny battery. Who
knew that hyper rabbit had diabetes? I tell you, we are everywhere!
closer, we can see taht the body of the Snap has not one heart, but four: Power,
motor, gears, and something new and wonderful. Let’s start with that last one
first. Look at this picture:
the bottom-left two thirds you can see the plunger driver. Well, what’s left of
it after my unfortunate dropping-the-dead incident. To the right and wrapping
around the chamber is a strange goo. These are one and the same. The penfill plunger
is forced upwards, delivering insulin, by a flexible tube of waxy plastic which
in this body is nearly used up, as I drank every drop of insulin it had to
offer. I saw these white tube-like structures at their factory, but didn’t
realize what they were. They just looked like little lengths of rope to me at
you look at the housing, you can see that the plunger curls up in a U-shape,
like a lazy snake, before beginning its journey upwards. And like a mutant
viper, it only has one fang. A single spear-like needle rises out of the tip
and skewers the rubber bottom of the penfill to better anchor the system.
drives this journey? You’ll never believe it. The smallest, cutest little
electric motor you’ve even seen:
Stuart Little would find this pint-sized wonder small.
a sec. Isn’t this all a little…umm… primitive for an insulin pump? Where are
the brains, for crying out loud? Ah hah! There’s the circuit board and computer
stuff, on a thin ribbon, hiding behind the AAA bunny battery:
gears I don’t have totally figured out yet, but here they are: A couple of
clock-work pieces and something that looks a hell of a lot like an Archimedes
screw. Wow, can you get any older-school than the ancient Greeks?
circuit board controls the motor, which drives the gears, which turn the
Archimedes screw, which moves the snake, which pushes the plunger, which
delivers the insulin. Crazy shit! How can this simple and yet elegant system
really work without killing me?
Next time: Active insulin and urine.
Nothing to get pissed off about.