A Dance in The Theatre

The room is illuminated by two surgical lights emanating a cool blue tinge to the patient on the table. Ribs retracted, the slow, steady hum of the bypass machine in the background accentuated by the steady heart rate beeps. "Pressure?!" bellows the primary surgeon before the cardioplegic solution is pumped into coronary circulation causing arrest.

The procedure starts, four sets of eyes follow as a cut is made into the fleshy red tissue. The device is placed into the designated valve and slowly the incision is sutured. A small pucker remains on the ivy leaf shaped left auricle. As the heart starts returning from arrest it squirms and quivers, like a bag of worms. Fibrillation.

"Paddles!! Charge to 150!" bellows the surgeon as all hands leave the table. Thud. "Charge to 200!" Thud. All eyes are on the fleshy organ that has now developed mild bruising. Will it beat with all this damage? Resilience triumphs today as it cardioconverts back into rhythm and returns to its bright red color. It happily jumps inside the chest, and returns to its role as life giver when bypass is removed.

This momentous surgery may be a procedure to some, however for me, as with most things, it had a deeper meaning. This is something that I aspire to, but am I ready? To hold the fragility of life in my hands, to walk on the tightrope between life and death. Something that I am so intimately aware of but am still petrified and confused by.

I am not sure I am ever meant to understand. Perhaps, instead, I should be content with the dancing in my own ribcage.


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