Beat by beat: What I learned from a stethoscope

Photo: Kristina Litvjak

My father-in-law was selling a stethoscope at a yard sale. We thought Rory might like playing doctor, so we grabbed it.

She goes around holding it up to different things and examines the heartbeat of it. It’s hilarious.

The other day, I was playing with her, and I was bored, so I put the earpieces in and held the broad end to my chest. It took me some time to find it, but soon, there it was.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

At first it was in jest. Ha! I found it. Cool.

But soon, something hit me. I was faced with my mortality in the middle of my 2-year-old’s bedroom. I could actually count these beats that are keeping me alive. They’re finite. They’re sounding healthy now, but there will come an instant where it beats for the last time.

How many have I used up? Am I taking care of my body — this vessel that holds it? What percentage of beats do I have left? Do I have a day? A month? 40 years?

Am I spending these heartbeats wisely? Each one gets me closer to the last. Is my life taking the movement worthy of this sense of urgency I’m feeling now?

Just some questions…


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