my broken heart

I spent two days in the hospital recently and came out feeling a lot worse than when I went in. The reason I went in was because of a wee pain in my chest. I have learned that when you mention the phrase "chest pain" to medical professionals they tend to get pretty intense.

I failed a stress test which resulted in my being admitted to the hospital where another test revealed a blockage in the branch of a small artery. It was too small to require a further procedure, so I was just given medication and encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices.

My first reaction upon learning that something might be wrong with my heart was to click "undo." I wanted to press "delete." To edit this chapter. Cross this out. Begin again.

During my echocardiogram I could hear my heart. It sounded like something moving through murky water, or like wind whooshing through trees. My heart sounded like a dream sound, an otherworldly sound. And I didn't like the way the sound made me picture my heart, there, in my chest, actually beating.

Thinking about my beating heart reminded me of thinking about the universe - the endlessness of it. It's so hard to imagine: a place without edges, without beginning or end. It's nearly as hard for me to imagine my heart, this complex muscle, beating away, day after day. It hurts my brain to dwell on it, to think of the job it must do in order for me, for any of us, to remain alive.

I was only in the hospital for two days, and I'm glad for the excellent care I received but I'm not too thrilled with how crappy the ordeal made me feel.

I went into the hospital feeling fine, and came out tired, headachey, nauseous, and temporarily unable to drive, climb stairs, or lift anything heavier than three pounds.

And, the result of all this medical care? Well, I've still got the chest pain. But now I've also got a handfull of medications with an astounding list of side-effects.

View from my hospital room window, 5:30 AMish, 11/11/10 :