Dylan Thomas Heart Attack green fuse drives flower


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer…

Dylan Thomas, 1933



(16) Green Forces


"Time is heart muscle"  is a basic cardiology mantra.  After a heart attack, the longer the affected heart muscle cells are deprived of oxygen, the more of them die. These heart muscle cells do not regenerate, nor do they just disappear; once dead, they form scar tissue in the heart, which alters the electrical pattern of the heartbeat. As a consequence, the heart’s pumping efficiency is compromised, and the heart itself grows larger – sometimes, dangerously large - in a desperate attempt to compensate for this lost efficiency and to keep the body’s blood circulating.

These changes are not something that can be reversed.  There is no cure.

Of all the authors whose books I read after the heart attack, the one who spoke most clearly and compassionately to me was Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician who has survived Crohn’s Disease for fifty years and who teaches other physicians about the emotional and spiritual sides of healing. In her words:

      Curing happens at the level of the body, and it requires expertise.
      Healing is what happens at the level of the whole person

I am humbled and awed by the powerful unconscious forces that have been released by this heart attack.

                     Where do these dreams come from?
                     Where do these drawings come from?
                     Where does this healing come from?

March 1, 2007