A PORCINE VALVE AS A LITERARY STIMULANT - WHODA THUNK IT?
First the "scientific" then the "literary."
Did you know that if you took the aortic vavle from a pig and the aortic valve from a human and put them side by side, you could not tell which was which? This, at least, is what a nurse from the "Heart Group" told me.
When I was drafted into the army the doctor doing my physical exam said, "Do you know you have a heart murmer?"
"I do?!?" (Thoughts: "EEK! Hey, maybe I'm 4-F and can go home!")
"But don't worry, it's not enough to keep you out of the army."
(Thoughts: "Rats, Pots, Fooey! I guess there's no escape.") "Thank you, Doctor."
That was during the last week in August of 1943. I lvied with this condition until I had an aortic valve replacement on March 28, 2005.
At my age the "rejection" of the porcine replacement would be "very slow" - so I told Dr. Recchia (the head doctor of the team) that I would see him again in 20 years. Actually he has had the heart checked each year, and the pig is functioning well, much to our mutual relef.
Now the literary.
Mom always used to write verses on various occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions of all sorts. These poems had no special artistic or literary eminence or pretensions but were mostly humorous and just for fun. Dude does this now. He even wrote a narrative poem about the event when he and his wife, Cathy, visited her parents in Phoenix and had a baked beans suppper. His poem describes the after-effects of the meal in vivid and hilarious detail.
So I decided, to commemorate the valve's first anniversry, I wouold write a poem of thanks to the heart team who had, literally, given me a new lease on life. (By the way, that is an apt term, since we do not have a PERMANENT possession of "life" but are, rather, "renters" of that state for a relatively short time - so: "lease.") I had fun writing these. Before you read them, I will give you "footnotes" to clarify some of my esoteric terminology.
1. "Doggerol" is bad or trivial poetry.
2. "Corpus vecchia" Latin for "old body."
Twas early spring of two-thousand-five—
Some eighty four years I'd been alive.
But all was not well with this body of mine;
A carotid artery had started to whine.
So they reamed it out with a small roto-rooter,
And the clogs were dislodged and the tube became neuter.
Then along came a doctor — One Sir Dino Recchia
Who took charge of this sick "corpus vecchia."
He inserted a probe leading up from the groin
To examine a heart valve the size of a coin.
His photographs, then, which he took from within
Showed a wee opening like the head of a pin.
On March twenty-eighth he got friends on the track—
So, with Stirling and Smith and Drake at his back
They took the patient to surgery — intrepid clan
They were Dino and Glade, Mack and ol' Dan.
1 have to skip over details and some facts
For I was unconscious and my memory lacks
Suffice it to say they installed the valve of a pig,
Which, as nature would have it, wasn't too small or too big
Eleven days later (after a week-long of blur)
1 was sent back to my house without a demur.
From that time to this I have gotten much better.
Mission accomplished, right down to the letter!
I wonder if that piggy had any vague notion
Of his heart's continuing rhythmic motion
Now all the pork, namely bacon, sausage and ham
Have conditioned the valve to feel calm as a clam
So pumping it goes, and pauses not ever
To keep my life nourished. Now, isn't that clever?
So here's to the team: Mack, Dan, Dino and Glade!
Let's drink to them all as they go unafraid;
And the tree of life's blooming: trunk, branches and twigs.
Let's hope that these doctors don't run out of pigs!
After that, the second year, I decided to aim higher.
A Shakesperean sonnet is a very structred form — fourteen iambic pentameter lines of three quatrains and a couplet, with rhyme scheme of ab, ab, cd, cd, ef, gg. Content-wise it consists of;
Words that might need clarification:
A "Shakespearean" Sonnet
So now the title of this "tale" makes sense, yes?
Composed 30 November 2008, transcribed by Robin.© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008