I'm in a doctor's examination room, and the table is leaned up so it's more like a dentist's chair. The doctors finally tell me why I've been having trouble breathing. It's not my lungs after all. It's my heart. It's on the outside of my body. All the way outside, in fact. It's suspended in liquid in a large beaker on the counter. They hand me the beaker and let me hold it.
And there it is, a perfectly formed heart. It's not connected to me physically, but it seems to be linked to my breathing. When I inhale it contracts. When I exhale bubbles come out of it. This makes it even harder to breathe, since I can feel the heart resisting the contractions, and I can't figure out how the air gets into the heart if it's suspended in liquid. This makes me uncomfortable and I'm unable to breathe normally.
They can't put it back in until tomorrow, and in the meantime they need to keep the heart there. I can't take it with me. As I leave the room I imagine for the first time this gaping hole in my chest where my heart is supposed to be, and I also realize that, as long as I'm not looking at the heart, struggling in its breathing/beating, I feel okay. But still, I should probably have them put it back in.
Meli and I go to the appointment desk. We're going out of town tomorrow so I ask for the earliest appointment, hoping for 8:30. Unfortunately no one can see me until 11:45, and it's going to cost like four thousand dollars to put the heart back in.