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The Art of Heartbreak
noun: great sorrow, grief or anguish
heart surgery: [hahrt sur-juh-ree]
noun: any surgical procedure involving the heart
One would think that heartbreak of any kind can be solved by heart surgery, right? For anyone that has ever experienced heartbreak knows that it’s not just a figure of imagination. But when someone you love leaves you stranded, all alone, it feels as if your heart is physically break in two; whether it be straight down the left and right ventricle, or crumbling into pieces, the aorta and the atriums detaching themselves, to never be attached again in the same preserved way. One would think that a simple heart surgery would be able to fix this sensation, fix you as if nothing ever happened.
But if cardio-thoracic surgeons know something about their profession - in which they should after all the mind numbing hours spent in medical school and the torturous internships taken to achieve their placement in the hospital – it is that heartbreak is impossible to fix through surgery, because it is more of an emotion rather than an actual surgical problem. However, the steps leading up to the actual heartbreak, and even the period afterwards spent in healing, are more similar to heart surgery than one may actually realize.
When two people, whether it is in the fruit section of the grocery store or even being introduced by friends, it initiates the heartbreak. Now, one would think a large flashing light would pop out of nowhere, warning you that there’s a heartbreak afoot. But that’s far from happening. Nevertheless, that sign is shrunken down to the minuscule thought in the back, which is overridden by the “what if they’re the one” thought. Hope trumps experience? Oh, yes, in mainly every case. So we are basically diagnosing ourselves for heartbreak.
In terms of surgery, one is referred to a surgeon by a family doctor, or even rushed to them because of a trauma situation needing immediate repair. They are introduced, taken to receive a CT scan or any other required labs, and from there, they are diagnosed with our problems. There may be a lack of blood flow due to a clot in an artery, or even congestive heart failure. Not as a romantic story as the other, but nonetheless, it is a diagnosis of heartbreak; the fact that the heart has stopped functioning in some way or another.
PREP FOR SURGERY.
Sitting around and waiting for the date to come - whether a scheduled appointment or dinner and a movie - is a very impatient time. However, once its here, a sense of routine is set into place to get ready; making sure everyone has washed away their troubled pasts and are now pushing towards the future. Everyone needs a clean start to any relationship. Which, once the heartbreak has been initiated, is the first step in breaking someone’s heart, and fixing it if there is any way,
Preparing the surgeon and the patient takes careful consideration. It is necessary that both people are thoroughly cleaned, as well as the actual operation room. In this way, while the chest cavity is open, the sterile organs inside stay sterile; which in turn lowers the risk for infection. The chest is shaven – if necessary – and then cleaned, washing away all bacteria. The surgeon scrubs away all germs that may be lingering on their hands, which are then covered by surgical gloves. It is a very time consuming, yet essential routine, much like preparing for a date.
Showers are taken; cologne is applied; disguising any flaws you may have. It is the time to seem almost godlike, perfect, and sterile. We push away all unsterile parts of us – our pasts and our secrets – in order to prevent any infections early on in the relationship. It may not be right, but it is what’s done because the thought is being repeated over and over and over in our heads: they could be the one, they could be the one, they could be the one, and they could be the one.
SEDATE AND CUT.
Sedating a patient, in both senses, is vital. For, it prevents them from feeling any pain while the surgery is performed. Whether it is placing an anesthetic into the IV, or the so called “puppy love,” neither is meant to cause pain, but simply to blind the person of what is actually going on.
Count backwards starting from 10; 10…9…8…7… That’s the last thing you’ll remember before being put under. It’s painless, pleasant actually. Some even say it’s the best sleep they ever had. But anesthesia’s purpose is more than to put you to sleep. It causes you to be pain free, while allowing surgeons to do what is needed to be done without having their patient thrashing around in severe pain. In other words, it disguises the patient from what is really going on, and replacing it with a dreamlike state for them.
“Puppy love,” a term generally used to describe the feeling of the quick freefalling love for a person. It’s a carefree sense, ignoring any flaw the other person may be presenting and taking them into your heart, even though there may be clear signs that that aren’t right for you. You’re sedating yourself from the truth; being disguised from reality and settling for the dreamlike state.
Once the patient in sedated, the surgeon begins the heart surgery by placing an incision down the patients chest, making sure it divides the chest in half. This is critical, for if the incision is too deep, it could kill the patient.
After realizing someone has fallen in love with you, it is easy to begin cutting into their heart after their sedated day-by-day; putting them down, pointing out their flaws, not taking the time to share their feelings. It’s not a physical cut, but to the person having it done to them can easily describe it as just that; the cut in their chest that began leading to their heartbreak.
It is easy to see how these two coincide; cause and effect. Sedation leads to the first cut, and for those who have already experienced this practice, they can agree with Sheryl Crow in stating that, “the first cut is the deepest.” Why this is so, is because your very first love is the one you expect to never hurt you. You give them everything and entrust them with everything, and when slowly begin making that incision in your heart, its said to be the deepest and most painful cuts ever to be made to your heart.
BREAK, REPAIR, AND HOPE.
Getting your heart broke is one of the most painful things ever imaginable. Whether it be when a surgeon is detaching the old heart from the surrounding veins and arteries, or when you’re left standing alone. In both situations, your heart is actually breaking, whether it is figuratively or literally.
For the case of the patient, they are sedated. They don’t feel any pain while they slumber. In the case of love, you aren’t puppy love only lasts so long. So when you experience heartbreak is it similar to standing unprotected as an arrow spears through your heart. Lovely isn’t it? But that’s what it feels like. You’re completely benign to the person and then they lay a forceful blow to your heart, crushing it.
And then it’s time to heal.
Patients in a hospital are sent to recovery after surgery, followed by a stay in their assigned rooms. They may have complications resulting from the surgery, but it is nothing compared to having a new heart. It’s another chance to live their lives, maybe even start all over. It helps to lead to forgetting their pasts & looking towards the future. Forgetting their enemies & embracing their allies. And even accepting their mistakes. Their broken heart is now repaired, and now they can live in hope that it will stay unbroken for a long while.
Unfortunately, repairing a broken heart for someone that was left standing alone when all they really need is someone to lean on means gallons of chocolate ice cream, movies without happy endings, and tears falling like thunderstorms. It takes time…a lot of it, to heal. And sometimes you never heal. But even after all this; we carry on, moving onto the next person. All in all, wondering and hoping they’ll be the one. And if not, we start the heartbreak process all over.