Friday, January 22, 2010

i carry it in my heart

About a year and a half ago while lying in bed, I leaned up against my husband's chest to cuddle with him as I had done many times before. But on this particular night, things went a little bit differently. For some strange reason, I actually stopped to listen intently to his heart beating. I had heard his heart beating previous to this occasion, but it had always been more like background music. This time, I made sure to actually listen to the song lyrics. And it was at that point I realized I had never listened the words before. Wanting to make sure I heard right, I leaned in even more and discovered the sound I was hearing was an irregular hearbeat. A few weeks later I mentioned something to his younger sister who's a nursing student and she got out her stethoscope to listen more accurately. There was immediately a look of concern and she said, "You really should see a doctor about this."

Today was the culmination of that fateful comment. I'm sitting here typing this entry in an empty house while my husband sleeps peacefully (I hope) at U of M Hospital. He had a catheter ablation performed today to eradicate the pathway in his heart that was creating his arrhythmia. Everything went well and his doctor is pleased with the results. I can't tell you how relieved this makes me. As long as I live I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling of dread I felt when we were shuffled into the consultation room to talk to the doctor after the procedure. My logical mind told me, "Beth, this is a routine procedure. Everything is fine." But then my irrational mind took one look at the comfy couch and chairs along with the low, warm lighting that decorated this consultation room and all I could think was, "I wonder how many times doctors have had to deliver bad news in here..."

So of course when he came in and said that everything went fine, I had to hold back my tears of relief for fear of looking like a blubbering idiot.

Other than the fact that his procedure ended at 3:00 and he didn't get a room until 9:15, I have nothing but good things to say about the staff at the U of M Cardiovascular Center. The doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners... they were all competent, caring, and congenial. Given the grandiosity of the U of M Medical campus, I was amazed at how personable everyone has been thus far. I feared we'd feel like nothing but a number, but as a whole, everyone made us feel like we matter (with the exception of the room debacle, but I'm just going to try to let that go).

Despite the success of today's procedure, I'm still having a hard time letting go of my irrational fears long enough to go to sleep. I worry that the morning will bring some unexpected twist of fate that no one had anticipated and that, in reality, the procedure wasn't as successful as they initially thought. Of course this is a ridiculous thought and should be shoved out of my mind, but I can't help thinking it.

So I'm going to shut this computer down, turn off the lights, and fall into a light, turbulent sleep hoping that no results, cardiac or otherwise, get overturned in the morning.

In honor of my husband, I thought today's poem by E.E. Cummings was appropriate:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

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