Wed, 20 Nov 2019

Spending my days in ICU and the Heart Ward

(Op-ed) Jerome Irwin
10 Nov 2019, 05:19 GMT+10

The Human Heart, What's it all about: Life & Death, Love & Hate, Laughter & Sadness? Music & Heartache? Politics, Commerce and Business with No Heart or All Heart, "To Be or Not to Be", as Shakespeare once posed? Is it just one of many complex organs of the human body or some thing much grander and lofty, connected to other distant cosmic ages and places?

Recently, this writer underwent a complex operation to replace a faulty defibrillator and pacemaker with defective leads that had embedded themselves dangerously-deep within his heart, that needed to be deftly extracted and replaced or life was in doubt. Dr. Jamil Bashir, a par excellence neurosurgeon at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada led the team of surgeons and supporting medical staff to undertake the operation.

It was a curious way our paths crossed when, oddly, as it turned out, we had had a different distant kind of happenstance connection, not between a surgeon and a patient but as two patients. He while recovering from a bout of food poisoning from a tainted salmon dinner on a flight from Canada, while I was attempting to discern the cause of the dengue-like fever picked up from some unknown organism while hiking through the nearby Blue Mountains.

At different points in time, we had once spent a brief moment in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, one of the oldest and finest hospitals in New South Wales. Built in 1873, the hospital had been named after Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and second son of Queen Victoria who, in 1868, had survived an assassination attempt by Henry James O'Farrell. O'Farrell, an Irishman produce merchant in NSW's Ballarat Haymarket, said to be a lunatic who had feigned he was under Fenian orders from the Fenian Brotherhood and, as it turned out, was the first person to ever have attempted a political assassination in Australia.

Cared for by six nurses trained by Florence Nightinggale, the Royal Prince survived the assassination attempt which unfortunately led to waves of anti-Catholic, anti-Irish sentiment throughout the young Briish colony. O-Farrell eventually was hanged in Sydney's infamous Darlinghurst Prison; the same prison where Ned Kelly, another Irishman from Ballarat and Fenian-Australian bushranger-folk hero-outlaw-Kelly gang leader met his own fate in 1880.

So, with this strange interface of sorts, nearly 150 years later between a surgeon and his patient, an operation in Vancouver's St. Paul Hospital successfully saved this one's heart for whatever long or brief time, space and purpose lay beyond to make whatever modest attempt to say something meaningful about Planet Earth's many endless, unresolved crises all the international political elections, climate crisis protests, extinction rebellions, the world's population clock and species extinctions, second by second, dangerously approaching ever closer to that bewitching hour of midnight, or the ilk of characters like Trump et al who would forever deny it all for whatever momentary, fleeting power, glory and self-aggrandizement.

This one's time spent in St. Paul's ICU and Heart Ward proved to be one of those epipanic moments in life for which it sometimes seems only The Pleidas everhave any real, ultimate answers to offer up.

The kind of epiphanic moments that, as the American composer-conductor-pianist Leonard Berstein once said "becomes the measure of success to which that moment makes you an inhabitant of that world the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air".

Those passing days in ICU and the Heart Ward, meeting people that probably would never be met again in such vulnerable life-and-death situations, a reminder of what the American sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick meant when, "he sat watching the people go by, wondering how a thing of this sort could have come about? I must have let myself get mixed up in something horribleI have no control of myself or anything that's happened. So now I'm waking up. I'm aware..I've been destroyed and now that I'm aware all I can do is realize it. The shock of getting up and telling the account made me see mixtures of lies and bits of truth, unable to see where each starts".

Or what James Riordan, the late New York City-based Broadway, film and television actor was thinking when he said, "What I learned in Rwanda was that God is not absent when great evil is unleashed, whether the evil is man-made or helped by darker forces. God is right there, saying to those who respond to His urgings, try to heal the rest."

Holey Moley, what a difference "going under the knife" can make in one's life!

Words (777)

TAGS: Climate Crisis Protests, Extinction Rebellions, World's Population & Species Extinction Clock, Political Elections, ephipanic moments, transendence of lies, important life-lessons

The writer Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American activist-writer who, for decades, has sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by excessive mega-development and the host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey, a spiritual sojurn among the native peoples of North America, and has produced numerous articles pertaining to: Irelands Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; innumerable accounts of the violations constantly waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the Worlds Collective Soul. He can be contacted at: jerome_irwin@yahoo.com

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