Trekkers and other scifi aficionados may recognize the above phrase from the otherwise middling episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Home Soil". The phrase is used by a crystal-like life form that develops a sort of collective 'hive mind', and it illustrates how they view humans. And, considering we are, by and large, bags of mostly water, it's not too far off the truth. The phrase popped into my head last week after a discussion with a cardiologist and the generally fragile nature of the human body.
I've known I have a heart murmur for probably about ten years; it initially surfaced when I was having some tests done to determine the cause of a chronic cough. Three years ago, my doctor mentioned it during my physical. Last month (and, yes, I know three years is probably a bit too long to wait between physicals) I had another exam--except this time, the murmur was 'louder'.
Cue the echogram, which involved pasting electrodes to my chest and taking a good look at things. At the time, the nurse said I had a 'mitral valve prolapse'; two days later, I got calls from both my doctor and the nurse where the test was taken, indicating they learned a bit more and would like me to meet with a cardiologist.
So, here's what I know. My mitral valve appears somewhat defective, with what they call 'moderate' leakage. However, it appears my aortic valve isn't working quite right, either, with 'moderate to severe' leakage. Next step? A transesophageal electrocardiogram, wherein a tiny camera is inserted down my throat to get a better look at my heart.
This could turn out to be as simple as 'let's check it every six months', or there could be drugs involved, or--a small chance--surgery to correct the problems. I do know the fatigue I've been feeling for the past six months or so could be related to this, so we'll see what happens. The test is on Monday, and I'll be back...