Watching life

I had my heart ultrasound yesterday. I won’t have the official results until next week, but the tech told me she saw nothing worrisome, so I’m not concerned.

What was interesting, though, was the test itself. Even having been through cancer, I don’t think I have ever felt my mortality, my fragility, as strongly as I did watching my heart pump on a screen. I mean of course I know I have a heart, have guts. I’ve had surgeries, given birth to babies. I am keenly aware of how everything inside me works – or doesn’t work. Still, watching my heart – MY heart, my very own HEART – pump as I lay there was both terrifying and thrilling. I watched my mitral valve flap open and shut. I saw the machine’s colors indicate blood flow. I saw in real time my heart doing its job to keep me alive, and somehow that sparked a deep, instant knowledge of how easily it could be stopped. It also rekindled a feeling I have had precious few occasions – a sense of pride in my body, of possession, of protection. That heart is mine, and it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, and I love it.

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