Tomorrow I will See My Heart on a Screen

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Tomorrow I will see my own heart on a screen—a color echocardiogram.

It was four years ago this week when I first fell ill and that strep first grabbed hold of my mitral valve. It was four years ago this week when my heart began to pump infected blood throughout my system for three weeks, until my mitral valve was destroyed and I was in the early stages of heart failure.

I remember my first echocardiogram in early May of that year. I remember seeing my aortic valve’s three parts opening and closing with the precision of a clock. I remember how the color screen showed the chamber change from a cool blue to a bright orange—the two colors differentiating in-flow from out-flow.

I remember how when the cardiologist moved her wand over my mitral valve, I could tell, though I knew nothing about the heart or how to read an echo, that something was very wrong. No precision. No order. Orange and blue swirling together.

I remember asking the cardiologist if what I was seeing was my problem, and I remember how her unwillingness to give me a direct answer was all the answer I needed. I remember thinking I was looking at a parable—my heart was broken and I could not fix it on my own.

Tomorrow I go back in to see how my heart is holding up. Forgive me, doctor, for I have sinned. It has been two years since my last echocardiogram. I do not know what tomorrow’s echocardiogram will show, but I know I will see my own heart. And that alone will sober me, no matter the results.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Russ Ramsey
Russ Ramsey and his wife and four children make their home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and the author of Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative (Rabbit Room Press, 2011) and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Crossway, 2015). He is a graduate of Taylor University (1991) and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv – 2000, ThM – 2003). Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

One Response to “Tomorrow I will See My Heart on a Screen

  • Debra Henderson
    2 months ago

    Russ, My husband and I were at Hutchmoot in 2011 and 2012. Our two year old daughter has congenital mitral valve disease (repair at 6 weeks old and replaced at 9 months old). We’re familiar with looking at the colorful echos she gets every couple of months. It’s unnerving each time we have to go. We can empathize with how unnerving it feels. I’ve marveled at your journey and nodded my head along with your descriptive writings and prayed for you and your family along the pathway. You’ll certainly be in our prayers tomorrow. – Debra & Tom Henderson

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