Story of a Quiet Hopeful Heart


Do hearts have a story independently unfolding of our own story? And if they do, how legitimate is to tell that story ignoring the right our heart has to privacy?


A heart is a very private thing. A quiet sensitive heart is of a very delicate nature. Notwithstanding all doubts, I decided pro telling.


I was aware that I had a heart at a very young age. From 5 to 7, I had melancholy spells I can explain today by my profound sadness of being apart from my mother and my sister.


At the same time, my sister developed an anemia, which forced my mother to leave Mozambique with both of us. In terms of health, she was very careful with her daughters. I remember, for instance, that we never started holidays without a full medical exam to know if we were fit for walking, playing, swimming and all things people usually do when on holidays.


My sister’s anemia took us from hospital to hospital. Soon, my mother somehow realized that I had to have a weakness too. Remembering my melancholy and my grandmother, who died at 45 due to a cardiac arrest, she “conceived” a heart illness for me.


From eight to ten I was submitted to extensive heart examinations, but the conclusions didn’t satisfied my mother. She was sure that I had a heart condition and no one would be able to convince her of the contrary.


After a two years quest, she found a doctor who understood her motherly concern and decided to “investigate” my heart to the last consequences. So he did and, as a result, he came to the following conclusions: 1) I had a deficient form of breathing, meaning that I almost didn’t breathe. My breath in and out was superficial and irregular and, because of that, he suggested private gymnastic addressing that specific area. As a consequence, I’ve spent two years learning how to breathe. 2) The second conclusion that hard-working doctor reached was that my thorax was very tiny. I had to develop it and for that he vehemently recommended tennis. My mother took the advice, but for her tennis and swimming were the same. She always opted for swimming, when possible. At the end of the day, most of the time I was exercising with the only sports available at school: football, handball and basketball.


My heart awareness started during those school years. As time went by, my heart became stronger (I hope), though I’ve got this impression that I have led a different life from the one my heart would like and approve.


Smoking has helped me to cope with rhythm of life and low blood pressure during years, before it started to feel wrong. I had to cut coffee out, as it didn’t felt good too.


Nearly one year after quitting, I checked my lungs and heart. Lungs were spot clean and heart was doing all right.


“Though I have to tell you something. Your heart is the smallest I’ve come across. Besides…” the doctor started to explain and, as he was speaking, I suddenly realized that my mother fears could be about to materialize in front of me. “…your heart is slightly to the right, so it is more center than left positioned.”


“Is this a problem?” I questioned.


“No problem at all. It is working fine and that’s all you have to know and worry,” concluded he.


Lately, when my dizzy spells and blood pressure went round and down, respectively, I insisted that I wanted to see the same doctor. But he was out of town and I had to wait for an appointment with him. This is how it happened:


“Doctor, I feel dizzy and my blood pressure is very low. My heartbeat was down to 40…” I started to explain.


“It is very unusual, but don’t worry. Do you exercise?” he automatically wanted to know.


“Yes, I do exercise. Is it dangerous for me?” I anxiously asked.


“No. What I mean is that 40 as heartbeat is quite unusual, except among extremely fit athletes. I’ve seen it in high competition swimmers, for instance. Anyway, relax because low blood pressure means a longer life. I recommend some tests just to find out if there are reasons for concern,” he finally suggested.


That’s how it went. From now on it is a matter of testing and waiting. Hopefully waiting.


To my sister who recently quit smoking and is now convalescent of a silly accident. Get better soon!


2 thoughts on “Story of a Quiet Hopeful Heart

  1. Thanks! I am fit now, but with a 4 cm scar over my left eyebrow. It was interesting to read about the size of your heart. A couple of years ago I hat a similar surprise when my doctor told me I had very small kidneys – like your heart – small but healthy. Since then I can understand the reason I drink so little.
    Anyway, I think if you lead a regular and activ life, your heart will thank you for that, when you grow old (just think about our “old poet”)

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