Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hearts and Hospitals

Hearts and hospitals. I don't trust either of them. It's a distrust born from experience. They're not reliable, not deserving. As children, we take both for granted. Your heart works. It keeps beating automatically. It keeps you alive every day, up and running, and like the sun coming up as sure as morning, your heart will keep working. It stays whole, unbroken -- metaphorically and physically. When we're young, we see hospitals as a place where sick people go to get well. Doctors work miracles. You truly believe they have a secret knowledge when they give you stitches or set a broken leg.

As we get older, we find that there are no absolutes. We find we can't trust anything wholly. Hearts fail. They stop beating. They become unreliable. They break (both metaphorically and physically). And we learn that hospitals are not where people go to get well. They're where people go to get sicker, where they age, and where sometimes they die. As adults, we leave the comfort of childhood, the comfort of thinking someone else holds the answers for us. As adults, we learn the hardest truths, that we sometimes have no idea what we're doing -- in our jobs, in our relationships, as parents. We feel at sea not knowing the right answer, but taking what we know and making an educated guess. And with age comes the knowledge that for doctors it's sometimes no easier. I imagine they must enjoy it when a diagnosis is an easy answer, a simple win.

So, tonight, I put my faith in an inexact science -- the science of the heart. I have to push my fears aside and release the cynical notions that I've accumulated over the years so I can trust that hearts work and doctors have all the answers (physically, at least), and that hospitals are places where people go to get well. When a heart becomes unreliable, how can we trust anything else around us? How can we believe it will keep beating day after day automatically without fail? While we know the sun will come up tomorrow, hearts stop every day whether doctors can fix them or not. My father and I share a joke that hospitals are where people go to get sick. Every time someone in our family goes in for a routine procedure, they seem to come out in worse shape than they entered. It's become something of a phobia for me -- I dread hospitals specifically and medical procedures in general. Things break in there. And my father continues to prove us right as he spends the night in intensive care due to unexpected complications in a routine stent procedure. I have to believe in his heart and the hospital on this one ...with a good measure of childlike trust.

3 Comments:

At Wed Mar 09, 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

I'm sending good thoughts out to the Panhandle for you and your family.

 
At Wed Mar 09, 06:08:00 PM, Anonymous braingirl said...

Thanks much. He's in Amarillo which is where we Panhandle folks go when we have to get fixed up. If you have to have a heart attack, at least it's good to have your cardiologist standing right next to you.

 
At Wed Mar 09, 06:08:00 PM, Anonymous braingirl said...

Thanks much. He's in Amarillo which is where we Panhandle folks go when we have to get fixed up. If you have to have a heart attack, at least it's good to have your cardiologist standing right next to you.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home