Some Heart-Warming Explanations

, , | Healthy | December 7, 2017

(I have visited the cardiologist for EKGs and echoes every two years since I was born, and one year I am old enough to ask my doctor why I have to.)

Doctor: “You have a heart murmur. Arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse.”

Me: “What’s that mean?”

Doctor: “Well, most people’s hearts have a steady two-beat. BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, like a drummer. Your heart is like a jazz drummer, who just does whatever: BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP, bump-BUMP, no bump. There’s extra beats and missed beats, with no pattern to it.”

Me: “What’s the other one?”

Doctor: “Imagine the hood of a Japanese convertible. The roof goes up, and when it comes back down, it fits perfectly into its base without problems, and is completely sealed. Now imagine the hood of an American convertible. When the roof comes back down, it doesn’t quite fit into the base; it’s off-center, and the air-conditioning will leak out and rain can get in. Your heart is an American car, and the valve is the convertible roof.”

(Two decades later, and I still love this doctor’s explanations to a confused kid.)

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