Friday, February 17, 2012

Appreciation (42) …The sound of living by ECG

Appreciation (42) …The sound of living by ECG
Torrey Orton
Feb 17, 2011

I had an echocardiographic stress test today and turned out fine…which was nice and not unexpected by me. No clogged arteries to be found. The really nice bit was the sound of my heart at work, which struck me as something a musician would use to background a piece…examples of which you can find at "heart sounds music" in Google, I later discovered (not my heart of course!). I listened then to a bunch of normal heart sounds (Google 'heart sounds', without music) for teaching auscultation (look that up and wonder couldn't they have done better; there's no escape from our Latin heritage!) and none had the richness of that produced by the echocardiograph technology.

I could catch the different valves because they were separated out from each other by the at-rest examination …but best was that I heard myself in a wholly different way from my voice, gut bubbles, joint clicks and such. I was hearing my life pulsing away interminably without my willing it to do so as I must will my muscles to get me up in the morning or to pluck these keys in writing about it all. Gave 'persistence' a new depth.

In addition, I gained a sudden appreciation for my heart itself – just perking along in there without a break (except that one day when my sick sinus captured my attention 9 years ago)…wondering that there must be medical researchers trying to reproduce that muscle for other purposes – generating electricity, perchance??

I hadn't thought about my heart, except for moments seeing if I could catch the pacemaker defending me from an unpredictable burst of slow heart rate. "Burst" you may wonder at? Well the pacemaker's task - for those of us with loose organic electrics, the counter-intuitively named 'sick sinus' – is to pre-empt a dropped beat, failure to do which can lead to passing out and its aftermaths.

Actually running – that is walking faster and faster – on the treadmill was a challenge… couldn't get my pace and stride right. Very strange feel of walking slightly uphill out the window …ah, it was the lack of leg lift required to stay with its demands. Climbing a hill is climbing; running treadmill is milling. Two quite incompatible things. So I tired more quickly than I should have given that I'd done 3ks uphill with a 150 meter climb three days before the milling.

I think the milling movement is less integrated, less whole of body by comparison with climbing, which is done with the whole body in synch leaning slightly forward, selectively placing each step around rock and root protrusions …so balancing all the time, too. Climbing is as much arms and shoulders as it is legs. The ECG testers prompted me to do the wrong thing: not look at my feet, which is exactly what I do climbing for reasons of the roots and rocks above! They said I'd be likely to loose my balance. At least one of them may not have recently climbed a serious hill on an unpaved path.

The sounds of different livings.

No comments:

Post a Comment