I am well aware that many people have watched their own brain surgery on a monitor. I know people have watched their own heart being operated on…but I am not one of those people. I understand the whole medical thing about blood vessels and nerve endings. I totally get the concept that there are certain areas that can undergo the scalpel and not feel pain.
But, I have never had the opportunity to ‘see’ the interior of my own body. That’s kind of strange in itself…since my body is mine. Why should someone else have all the fun of seeing my spleen or my pancreas…or better yet…a significant part of my lower bowels? Somewhere, in my files is a DVD of my lower intestines. If I can find it, maybe I’ll post it as a ‘procto-blog” some day. But I never saw it ‘live’ in real time. It was like a bootleg of a famous concert. Only this was a bootleg of my colon!
Well, all things changed a week or so ago. I was having an unusual series of irregular heartbeats. Lots of PVC’s (google it) and it was causing my wife (an RN) to become anxious and suggested to me that I go to the ER. I stood firm. No, I said, I’ve had PVC’s before. But the next morning, my pulse was ‘all over the place’. I walked out of the front door and sat beside my wife as she drove me to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. During the 10 miles ride, I didn’t need my hand on my chest to feel the extra pounding. The last time my heart beat like this was when I saw an episode of “Game of Thrones”, or when I was young as I sat in the Tioga Theater in Owego, NY and watched “Beach Party”. No plot. No great acting. Just Annette! (Every male of my generation knows what I’m talking about here).
I was set up to have a stress echo-cardiogram. I had to have lots of little sticky things places all over my chest. The technician got me ready. I made my way to the tread mill. They wanted to get my heart rate up to 135. By the time it reached 86, I was panting and hurting. I felt like the only runner in a race that was held last week. I hurried back to the table and the technician ran the hand held device all over my chest. There’s your mitral valve. There’s your tricuspid valve.
I was looking at my own heart. I was watching it pulsate. She turned the sound on. It sounded like my mothers Maytag. But, I was watching my very own heart…beating and moving blood through my body…to keep me alive!
I found it awesome to say the least. I had her move the monitor a bit so I could get a better look. I was looking for something.
I was looking for defects…not the defects that would cause my PVC’s, but defects that had affected my heart for the last five decades. I looked close. Was my heart really broken like I thought it was on more than one occasion? Were there cracks in the frail, thin skin? Were there cracks in my heart from things I’ve seen that made me cry? Was my heart overweight or heavy from so many sad things I felt I had to carry? Were there signs of a heart that was filled with happiness on countless dates in the past?
I could see none of these things.
Later, the doctor looked over the graphs and images and said he was happy. I made his heart happy…
Just as I turned to the technician to ask if she could print out an image…she hit the OFF button. Sorry, she said. I just turned it off.
So, I had to find an image on the internet for you to see. It’s not me, but it looked something like me.
Not on the outside, but on the inside.
[Important Note: For any of my readers who are cardiologists, or who have recently purchased a copy of “Cardiology For Dummies” from Amazon, this is NOT my heart’s image. This is important to note because in this image is a very serious heart defect. I do not have such a defect. My only problem is my main circulatory organ breaks easily…so, with me and with all those you love…HANDLE WITH CARE]