My Patient with an Artificial Heart
I met him about 6 months ago. He is 25, 6’2”, Caucasian. He holds a machine in his pocket about three times the size of a remote control. Without it, his heart would stop. Literally.
As he walks into my office, he is always mildly sweating because his heart struggles to pump and his adrenal glands are in distress pumping adrenaline…alive – barely, waiting for a heart transplant.
Although I have not had the courage to ask him, I know the thought of mortality must be ever present. Even at his young age, you see in his eyes an old soul. Someone who has passed through all the stages of grief…from anger to acceptance…maybe that is why he is so kind and always smiling.
As his doctor, I am always blessed and inspired by his smile. And I pray for his healing…for a donor, for a miracle.
As a physician, sometimes you get a front seat to humanity and the fragility of life and the heart-wrenching pain of our human experience. You move from room to room: from the colds, the flus, the diabetes, the asthma, the depression. You see the abused, the abuser, the hypochondriac, the addicted. And then you see the dying. You push the ugly reality.
But sometimes it pushes back.
Sometimes, a patient will make you stop on your heels. And remind you that he is another human being, like you. Hanging on to life, to hope, to dignity, to humanity.
So today, whatever you are going through, wherever you are – at the top of the mountain, or at the bottom of despair – may we all stop and see our world, even for a short time – and remember that we are all part of a symphony of the ages, conducted by the Maestro of eternity…we may not understand why or how.
But I think if we play our part, in humanity and in love, we would have done well…
Hug your loved ones tight…and often!
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