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Mark's Meanderings. by Mark Stoller

The heart of it all

Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007.†He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.

February hosts holidays for George Washingtonís birthday, Presidentís Day and my favorite ó the Groundhog. However, the monthís focus remains on Valentineís Day.As the heart is the symbol for Valentineís Day, Iíll share with you what I learned about your heart in my Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology class.Weíve all heard clichÈs referencing emotions and heart strings. Surprise! Your heart actually has ìheart strings.î They are called chordae tendineae and their main function is to open and close the valves in your heart between the atriums and the ventricles. Stress and pressure on the chordae tendineae through extremes, such as grief, can break those connective tissues ó also known as a broken heart.Often called a big muscle, which pumps blood through your body, the myocardium, the heartís muscle, wraps around the heart. To pump blood through your body, the muscle contracts in such a way as to resemble wringing water out of a towel.While illustrations of the heart show it facing front and center, the heart sits in your chest with the left side a little tucked more toward your back and the right side of the heart more prominent to the front. Why does this matter?The heart has its own electrical system that initiates contractions and pumping. The Sinoatrial Node, dubbed the pacemaker, sits on the top of the right side of the heart. A sudden and traumatic impact to the chest can halt the electrical impulses running through the heart and stop contractions.You may recall reading about the Buffalo Bills football player, Damar Hamlin, who collapsed on the field. The hit he sustained happened during repolarization of his heart (after the ventricle pumped blood and before the atrium could prepare to push blood down to the ventricle), called Commotio Cordis. That happened in a 0.1 second margin of vulnerability. Thankfully, Hamlin has made a remarkable recovery.Speaking of recovery, an article I perused in Psychology Today states, ìAnecdotal though they may be, there are numerous accounts in popular books and magazines of heart transplant recipients experiencing distinct changes in personality and behavior following transplant surgery.î It is said the heart contains memories and those can be passed on through transplants. Wrap your mind around that one!Now, from receiving someoneís heart to keeping the one devoted to you in a relationship: ran a recent article detailing on how smart phones have not only contributed to the forming of new relationships, but also to the demise of long-term relationships, resulting in divorce.One of the leading causes of relationship breakdown is the phenomenon of ìphubbing,î which refers to one or both partners snubbing the other with their phone. Furthermore, research suggests that partners and spouses that experience phubbing are more likely to suffer from depression and lower levels of marital satisfaction. Smart phones are also pathways into immorality and infidelity for both partners. While not the sole instigator for divorce ó itís very clear that it can add pressure and discontent to relationships, which subsequently lead to divorce.One situation still confounds me. When a couple or family sits in the same room and everyone has their face stuck in a smart phone ó are they simply comfortable in their relationship or dysfunctional?Clinical psychologist Helen Schucman is quoted as saying, ìYour task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.îDespite thriving for individuality, one desire forms the common denominator of the human race ó to receive dignity, respect and love.If you have found the love of your life, what are you doing to nurture and secure their heart?

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