Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On the Heart.

I have always been a brain person. I liked our thoughts, our ability to know things, to learn things, to be able to be conscious or non-conscious of our environment and then internalize that stimuli of our world into some sort of intangible but tangible material in our brains. Amazing.

Yet, I have come to adore the organ of the heart more and more recently. I find joy in the fact that the beating of the heart, the steady state pump, exists without any innervation of the brain. It happily does its thing, pumping along, incessantly each minute of the day, each hour, each lifetime. Even when we may not want to endure yet another day, the heart pushes us on, one beat at a time. This remarkable stamina lives within us. This is how we exist. Relentless.

Another reason to heart the heart is the heart's ability to "handles its shit". Not literally, of course. But rather, the heart is not only capable of assessing the pressure it receives but is also very efficient in quickly accommodating to it, then responds with what it was given in a heart beat. Pun so intended. The heart will work, with what you give it.

Pretend you found yourself or put yourself in this horrible situation, you are 'thinking' that this may be one of the worst ideas ever. You are frustrated, scared, exhausted. Something I have experienced rather recently. Nonetheless, the heart does not care what you think or feel. It does not judge, it does not criticize. It just does its function without hesitation and supplies you the necessary force you need to go on and do your thing. The heart provides you the means to do what you need to do, at that exact moment. To function.

When we age, the heart may less compliant (also described as more "stubborn") that ultimately  compromises the output of our hearts. The less compliant, the more work, more pressure is needed. But we already know this from personal experience.

The one downfall of this glorious organ is that, it cannot rejuvenate itself. Our brain and our muscles, to some extent, can heal after experiencing trauma. There can be stem cells or mechanisms that mend away after the damage has been done. Except for the heart. Surprisingly our heart does not have the capability to replace the dead cells with any spankin new ones. A localized injury to the cardiac muscle results in complete morbidity of that one section. Instead, we find what once were cells with a purpose and function, instead lies a "fibrous tissue" in its place.

Is that what happens, physically and figuratively, to our hearts when it may be broken? Torn apart, dead? When part of our cells die, pieces of our soul dies as well? You've felt it before. After losing someone, losing a job, losing hope. There are times where I feel a pain in my chest from an experience that has no physical matter. How is it that some arbitrary experience can transcend into a physical form?

The idea that that part of me cannot rejuvenate upsets me. Who would want to think that that such a vital organ cannot 'fix' itself. Not in my body nor in my life is this notion acceptable. There is some hope. It was observed that with those who have received transplants, were able to - at a very small, small percentage - regenerate some growth of new tissue. You just need a new heart, I guess.

Side note, in regards to at least the elements of the heart. I donated blood today and would like to think that not only did I give a physical part of myself, but also I'd like to think that an extension of my heart provided a medium for one or technically, three lives live a little easier. Okay, okay I know blood comes from the marrow but eh you think heart, you also think blood. My nerd is bulging out - I think this entry is really the reflection of my guilt because I should be studying the heart more so than writing about it. With that said, I leave with a quote from Mark Twain:

When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

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