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Pectoriloquy |

The Grief of the Transplanted Heart FREE TO VIEW

Joyce G. Schmid
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note:The author writes, “My neighbor lived for ten years with a transplanted heart. I watched him as his doctors guided him between the Scylla of rejection and the Charybdis of infection. It was quite a balancing act. The attempt of the heart to survive these conditions struck me as an apt metaphor for any situation where someone needs to adapt to a new environment. I am a psychotherapist in private practice, in Palo Alto, California. My professional publications are in the field of Addiction.”


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;149(5):1346. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2015.09.014
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    My home is dead to me.

    I must pretend to fit
    my new environment.
    I have to drug the locals,

    soldiers of immunity,
    to let me live.
    This comes with risk:

    they are the sole defense
    against invading
    enemies.

    The key is balance,
    balance to survive,
    but at a cost.

    Why don’t I change
    my antigens
    and end the war?

    I wear them for identity.
    I can’t fit in,
    I won’t fit in,
    I must be me.

    I must display the flags
    that are my own,
    and beat my lonely drum
    throughout the night.


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