Running. With Beats.


It’s all incomprehensible, really, including my pitiful attempt to explain it, akin to Brickell’s grasping of a single drop of rain in a thunderstorm.

The tide rushes in under the bridge. The moon, while aging on its 4.5 billionth birthday, remains stout in its efforts and its consistency. It leans in causing the oceans to swell – high tide here, low tide below me on the other side. The other side that is, China. Digging to China with a plastic shovel, scooping wet dirt on a beach in August, so many years ago in youth, yet the cool gritty sand remains on the fingertips.

A brilliant October sunrise. Mechanical in its efficiency, spectacular in its beauty. None exactly the same, this one never to be seen again.

The wind gusts. Leaves scatter from a large red maple, burning, on fire. Seasons pass orderly one after the other, slower than page turns, but they turn, ever so gently one to the next. [Read more…]

We might lose this child


The team knows and I know that we are running out of time. The anesthesiologist looks up at me and I see the fear in his eyes. . . We might lose this child. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is like trying to clutch-start a car in second gear—it’s not very reliable, especially as we are continuing to lose blood. I am working blind, so I open my heart to a possibility beyond reason, beyond skill, and I begin to do what I was taught decades ago, not in residency, not in medical school, but in the back room of a small magic shop in the California desert. I calm my mind. I relax my body. I visualize the retracted vessel. I see it in my mind’s eye, folded into this young boy’s neurovascular highway. I reach in blindly but knowing that there is more to this life than we can possibly see, and that each of us is capable of doing amazing things far beyond what we think is possible. We control our own fates, and I don’t accept that this four-year-old is destined to die today on the operating table. I reach down into the pool of blood with the open clip, close it, and slowly pull my hand away. The bleeding stops, and then, as if far away, I hear the slow blip of the heart monitor. It’s faint at first. Uneven. But soon it gets stronger and steadier, as all hearts do when they begin to come to life. I feel my own heartbeat begin to match the rhythm on the monitor. Later, in post-op, I will give his mother the remnants from his first haircut, and my little buddy will come out of the anesthetic a survivor. He will be completely normal. In forty-eight hours, he will be talking and even laughing, and I will be able to tell him that the Ugly Thing is gone.”

~ James Doty, MD, from “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart


Morning Lecture.

The last time Marthe Carrare heard Harfang speak, he had delivered a sparkling lecture… (He) concluded his speech by foreshadowing the end of cardiac transplants, suggesting they would soon become obsolete because the time had come to consider the virtues of artificial hearts, technological wonders invented and developed in a French laboratory…A murmur ran through the auditorium, waking up the drowsier students. Harfang’s audience was disconcerted by this conclusion, by the idea that a prosthetic heart could rob the organ of its symbolic power, and while most of the heads obediently bowed down toward the spiral notebooks held below them, concentrating as the hands took notes of Harfang’s words, a few shook from side to side, signaling sadness, or even vague dissent, while some slid hands inside jackets, behind ties, under shirts, touching bare skin so they could feel their hearts beating.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel


A hundred thousand times a day. 10 pints a minute.

photography, RedF Nam Le Hoang Vietnam

The thing about Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is that, since the moment of his birth, when its rhythm accelerated, as did the other hearts around it, in celebration of the event, the thing is, that this heart, which made him jump, vomit, grow, dance lightly like a feather or weigh heavy as a stone, which made him dizzy with exhilaration and made him melt with love, which filtered, recorded, archived — the black box of a twenty-year-old body — the thing is that nobody really knows it; only a moving image created by ultrasound could echo its sound and shape, could make visible the joy that dilates it and the sadness that tightens it; only the paper trace of an electrocardiogram, set in motion at the very beginning, could draw the shape, describe the exertion, the quickening emotion, the prodigious energy needed to contract almost a hundred thousand times a day, to pump nearly ten pints of blood every minute, yes, only that graph could tell a story, by outlining the life of ebbs and flows, of gates and valves, a life of beats — for, while Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is too much even for the machines, no one could claim to really know it, and that night, that starless and bone-splittingly cold night on the estuary and in the Pays de Caux, as a lightless swell rolled all along the cliffs, as the continental shelf retreated, revealing its geological bands, there could be heard the regular rhythm of a resting organ, a muscle that was slowly recharging, a pulse of probably less than fifty beats per minute, and a cell-phone alarm went off at the foot of a narrow bed, the echo of a sonar signal translated into luminescent digits on the touchscreen — 05:50 — and suddenly everything raced out of control.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2016)

Photo: RedF by Nam Le Hoang, Vietnam


Miracle? All of it. 


I wish to raise my hand. Well, I raise it. But who raises it? Who is the “I” who raises my hand? Certainly it is not exclusively the “I” who is standing here talking, the “I” who signs the checks and has a history behind him, because I do not have the faintest idea how my hand was raised. All I know is that I expressed a wish for my hand to be raised, whereupon something within myself set to work, pulled the switches of a most elaborate nervous system, and made thirty or forty muscles — some of which contract and some of which relax at the same instant — function in perfect harmony so as to produce this extremely simple gesture. And of course, when we ask ourselves, how does my heart beat? how do we breathe? how do I digest my food? — we do not have the faintest idea.

~ Aldous Huxley, The Divine Within

Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Notes: Photo – Maiyet. Quote: Brain Pickings


Monday Mantra


The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation
is a trophy engraved with the words
“you are still alive.”
You are still alive.
Act like it.

~ Rudy Francisco

Credits: Photograph/gif – youreyesblazeout. Poem Source – Conquer. Rudy Francisco – Bio.

Just Breathe. Gently. Softly.


Source: Headlikeorange

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