Monday, October 29

IMPALED


Any first aid training will teach you how to treat an impalement wound.  
The first and most important thing you'll learn in that section is as follows:

DO NOT MOVE OR REMOVE THE IMPALED OBJECT.

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A knife is such a simple, easy tool.  A sturdy handle, a sharp, shiny blade: bam - there's your tool.  And so unbelievably multifaceted.  A knife can peel, slice, dice, saw, scrape, and chop.  

It can also impale.

I've suffered an impalement wound.  The tip of that sharp, shiny blade broke the skin and made its way through every layer, past the sternum, and pierced my heart.  But it didn't stop there.  That knife made its way down to the very bottom of my heart.  Imagine the searing pain: a blade slicing its way down through every last chasm of your chest.  Imagine trying to coax your lungs to continue working, trying to persuade them to keep pumping air through your body, even though the very core of your body is severed, two units writhing in the pain that comes from a knife to the heart.

The human body is an amazing thing.  The body is designed to grow back together again after an external force tears it apart.  An impaled heart is no exception.  A severed, broken, writhing heart will always heal itself in time.  

Like all wounds, my heart, too, began to heal.  It's been healing very well, and its stellar progress can be chalked up to my self-control and diligence in neither moving nor removing the impaled object.  It's not easy; common sense should have told me that this knife in my heart was a foreign object and must be removed.  I pride myself on my own self-control here; for 18 months I have not touched the blade that's impaled my heart.  Ever a testament to the willingness and survival ability of the human body, my heart has grown back together, right around the blade I've refused to remove.  The knife has settled in quite nicely, the clean, flat blade settling into a clean, flat spot and taking root.  For 18 months I've walked around with this knife stuck through my chest and into my heart, hampering my ability to breathe normally, disturbing any aortic regularity.  Perhaps someday science will refer to me as a Medical Marvel.  They'll write books about my ability to use my heart while learning to work around the foreign object inside it.  Maybe they will reference "Melanie's Heart" when they teach classes on how to treat and maintain an impaled heart.  Maybe this will prove that people can live with a broken heart.  Yes, I beat science.  My story is proof that a human can survive a knife to the heart.

But then something funny happened today.  Today I was going about my business, moving things here and there, taking great pains to move around that ever-present knife in my heart.  The knife had settled, and it hadn't caused me any pain in quite some time.  It was, if anything, an inconvenience.  And then the original knife-culprit came along, saw the knife handle protruding from my chest, grabbed it and rotated it.  And then the pain came screaming back to me.  The agonizing, intense, terrifyingly real pain.  Imagine the pain: a blade rotating its way down through every last chasm of your chest.  Imagine trying to coax your lungs to continue working, trying to persuade them to keep pumping air through your body, even though the very core of your body is severed, two units writhing in the pain that comes from a knife to the heart.  

Yes, the pain starts over from the very beginning.  Just when I thought my heart was healed, just when I was learning to live with this foreign object protruding from my chest, that same person comes along and impales my heart once again.  The knife has been wrenched out of position, the bleeding has begun again, and every so often I find it impossible to persuade my lungs to do their job.  My heart is ripped apart all over again; for Sol, for my family, for myself.

When will it stop?  I'm not sure that a human can survive two knives to the heart.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for your pain Melanie. :( I just hate hearing stories like this. Such a powerful post, your writing is incredible.

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