A man finds out something new about the heart.
Heart Of The Matter
Samuel Raeburn knew the heart. It was a pump that attacked, failed and became diseased. After twenty years as an eminent cardiologist, he knew all he needed to know.
As for those ridiculous notions about emotions coming from the heart, that was hogwash. Because of this belief, Sam didn’t find it hard to keep himself professional. He came across as cold and stilted, but that was how he should be.
After all, what good did it do to become emotional? It didn’t help the patient and that was what he was there to do. So, he continued on in the manner he believed was best.
Dr. Raeburn worked tirelessly, saw numerous patients and seldom took a break or vacation. All of that made him more sought after then ever. He didn’t believe in stress when it came to himself.
Samuel, he hated Sam, was a stickler and never relaxed that stance. Things had to be done in a sequence and each step done thoroughly. It was the only way to proceed.
Mountains of paperwork were the norm, even in this computer age. Certain things needed the solidity of paper and pen. It was while trying to catch up on that seemingly endless chore; that he found himself working yet another weekend in his office at the hospital.
Dr. Raeburn wasn’t sure when he started forgoing weekends of hiking, golf, tennis and rock climbing for paperwork, but it had become a necessity of late.
He stood up with a handful of filled out forms to put on his secretary’s desk, when the arm holding them suddenly went numb. Thinking he’d been writing too long, he ignored it. As he was walking back to his desk, he felt dizzy, nauseated and finally a crushing pain in his chest.
Alarmed and puzzled, the doctor staggered over to the call button on the wall. When the nurses’ station answered, all he could say was the word heart. Rushing feet and wheels soon came up the hall.
Clutching his left arm which was radiating pain, he insisted that he be air evacuated to another hospital and then be signed in as Mr. Sam Raeburn. The scandal of a cardiologist having a heart attack must be avoided to protect his reputation. Then he passed out.
By the time he came to again, it was to find a nurse taking his pulse. Kindly she explained they would be hooking him up to a heart monitor. Sam started to say he knew the routine, but remembered in time that he wasn’t supposed to be a cardiologist.
The nurse proceeded to reassure him that he was in good hands, although some the machinery and treatments might be a little scary. Curiously, the doctor found the reassurance soothing somehow. As she took his blood pressure and pulse, she started to tell him Little Johnny jokes.
Before he knew it, he was laughing gently. Sam felt himself completely relax for the first time in a long time. When she left, she gave him a wave with one finger. He smiled, if a little rustily.
The doctor came bustling in, smiling broadly. He checked Sam’s chart as he told him a fishing story. Sam realized he hadn’t fished in years. After the doctor left, Sam found a whole lot to think about.
What was the point of being somber and stern unless necessary? Why couldn’t a doctor be serious without acting like a stiff?
By the end of two weeks, he was walking down the hall to the TV room where they seemed to have comedies on a loop. The more he laughed or groaned good-humoredly, the better he felt.
Two weeks after that, he was told he wouldn’t need surgery since it had been a mild attack. With a daily aspirin and the DASH diet, he was assured he would recover if he took better care of himself. As he left in an Uber, Dr. Samuel Raeburn, on a whim, got the driver to stop at several bookstores so he could browse books on jokes and fishing. The fact that he picked one of each, seemed to mean he was beginning to have a change of heart.