On loss, life and the heart by Lao American writer, Phayvanh Luekhamhan.
“No one has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” – Zelda Fitzgerald
Last month, I went to visit a cardiologist for the first time in over 10 years. He took notes in thick blue script as I recounted my history. The catheter in ’84. My last echo. The full-term pregnancy. My child’s death.
I couldn’t remember the details when he asked me for them. Decades had passed, much of which involved deliberate forgetting. And I didn’t want to get the details wrong. He asked me how she died, and what I told him then was this: “She was born with a malformed heart.”
What I should have told him was this: The right side of her heart was hard. There was no valve. A few blood vessels connected her heart to her lungs, and she was given medicine to keep that connection active until another more…
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