It happened in the middle of an echocardiogram – four years ago.
I burst into tears.
The sonographer said, “Would you like to see your heart?” and swivelled the screen towards me. A mass of muscle beat as though it knew the mightiness of its role. It pulsated with joy for God’s sake – as though it couldn’t send forth nourishment fast enough. Expand, contract, expand, contract. Who knew a heart could be so…well…exuberant? Healthy, strong, steady and robust, that heart on that screen belonged to me.
Is it possible a heart can give off joy? Or enthusiasm? In spite of being ignored, over-taxed, abused and taken for granted, mine pulsated and pumped as though my body was the greatest gift it had been given.
In that instant, the tables turned. Roles switched. Like a child sitting in “Lost and Found” whose mother finally appears, I realized how much my life depended on something eternally reliable. The tsunami of emotion rose and would not be contained.
The echocardiogram had been ordered by a locum while my doctor was away. She was concerned about pericarditis – an inflammation of the Pericardium which is the fibrous sac surrounding the heart.
My heart and its cradle were declared perfectly healthy.
On the ferry ride home, “I fell in love with my heart!” I tried to explain to a friend. “I know that sounds really silly, but it’s like I just woke up to its existence! I can’t believe how awful I’ve been – unintentionally. From now on I’m supporting it like it’s been supporting me. I’ll start by having a kale and quinoa salad with virgin olive oil and cranberries – right after fitness.”
I did fall in love with a mighty little muscle that’s been beating faithfully for over 6 decades without a single prompt. With no assistance, this humble organ has reliably and rhythmically performed its immense purpose.
Even if I snipped off a piece of my heart and put it in a beaker, that tiny chunk would begin beating all by itself – as though a complete heart.
Not even scientists can explain that phenomenon. And we consider ourselves mighty.