As a romance writer, I know how fragilme a heart can be. They're broken at least once or twice a chapter, and only mended when the hero and heroine are together at last.
Unfortunately, in real life, the heart is fragile as well. My husband had to have a valve replacement. He lived with a faulty valve all his life, actually. Born with a severe heart murmur, the doctors said he should avoid strenuous activities, and they told him he'd never be an athlete.
Well, never say never to my husband. He (typical bull-headed Taurus) decided he'd play polo, no matter what. And he did. He and his brother were the best polo players in France, and among the top five players in Europe. But the strain took its toll, and his aortic valve, never very strong, began to fail.
The first signs were fatigue and snappishness. Totally unlike him. Then he fainted. An electrocardiogram turned up nothing, but he still felt awful, and when, finally, his doctor put a stethescope against his chest, he knew something was very wrong. (Sometimes a simple examination beats a high-tech exam!)
All that happened two weeks ago on Friday. They sent him to see a cardiologist on the same day, who confirmed our doctor's diagnosis, and the next Monday, he was checked into a hospital for a battery of tests. A week later (yesterday) he had his operation and everything went really well.
My husband (like anyone!) hates being sick. He's always been incredibly healthy. Never cold, never ill, never complaining ( ladies, if you like the strong silent type, find yourselves a Taurus man!). But he'll be fine now, and he'll finally have a heart valve that works 100%, instead of just half that. He's looking forward to feeling better than ever. I'm looking forward to having my husband back home!
As as a writer, I've been storing all sorts of information to use in a book someday, perhaps. The color, smell, and sound of a cardiology unit in a hospital. The other patients up and wandering around, looking anxious or bored. The doctors - calm and seeming to be in a hurry all the time. The nurses - so nice, funny, and kind. My husband hoping the TV in his room would have cable so he could watch the soccer games. (It didn't.) And the huge park outside the hospital with two tennis courts for the patient's families and kids, the lake, the lovely walking paths, and the view from the fifth floor window as a storm blew in over Paris with lightning and thunder.
(Not knowing anything about heart valves, I had to ask my doctor. I also looked on the internet. For information on hearts, I went to the American Heart Association website, and the British Heart assocation website had pdf files you can download and read like booklets explaining the different pathologies. Nothing beats talking to your own doctor though, and the wesbite couldn't pat me on the shoulder and tell me my husband will be feeling better than he's ever felt in a matter of weeks.)