Somebody Is Sponge-Bathing Dick Cheney

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Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Former vice-president Dick Cheney's mechanical heart pump has allowed him to live a normal, though pulseless, life, the Times informs us today (with an amusing layout). With one exception: Until he gets a donor heart or rips one from the chest of an orphan, Kali Ma—style, Cheney must be cleansed via sponge.

Mr. Cheney’s pump was placed near his heart. With most patients, a power line emerges about waist level and connects to a controller, a minicomputer that plugs into a pair of one-and-a-half-pound, 12-volt batteries. Patients wear a black mesh vest over their clothing that holds the controller and batteries. They usually cannot shower and have to be satisfied with sponge baths.

Lynn, you saint.

With New Heart Pump, Cheney Resumes Old Life [NYT]