Close to the Heart ~ haibun

Close to the Heart

Specialists tell me it’s not all there, my interatrial septum. Blood that should be routed to my lungs to be filtered can, instead, be passed through that barrier. Flow in one direction can cause oxygen-rich blood to join blood going to the lungs, overtaxing them. Flowing in the other direction, blood that needs to be filtered by the lungs will join blood destined for the brain, which can lead to mayhem.

More than sixty-five years of my life passed before this was discovered. By a stroke of luck, my one stroke was minor. When it passed through the hole in my heart, a tiny clot that could have come from any injury did reach my brain, but its effect was minor. The hole can be closed with surgery, but with a high risk of complications due to my age – so I accept this defect as a part of my whole.

sparrow drinks
from fresh fallen rain
leaving rings

This is my response to Haibun Monday 1/30/23: Heart

Per Wikipedia:

Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect in which blood flows between the atria (upper chambers) of the heart. Some flow is a normal condition both pre-birth and immediately post-birth via the foramen ovale; however, when this does not naturally close after birth it is referred to as a patent (open) foramen ovale (PFO). It is common in patients with a congenital atrial septal aneurysm (ASA) – a bulging in the septum (or barrier) between the atria, which I also have.

Detailed chambers of the heart & PFO illustration – © Mayo Clinic
(click image to see larger view in new tab)

Read another poem about my PFO here.

54 thoughts on “Close to the Heart ~ haibun

    • the miles I have traveled
      along the highways
      across this nation
      on and across the seas
      even as code within the wider web
      pales against the miles
      traveled within this body
      each day, the pulse
      that delivers me to the pulse
      that surrounds me


  1. Close to the heart says it all, Ken! We are sustained by the beat and energy of our hearts. Your words “I accept this defect as a part of my whole” resonated. Your Haibun reminds me that we drink from life and then leave our legacy (rings) behind. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s