I spent an interesting morning on Wednesday. My partner had his tonsil out a year ago, and ever since then has experienced a range of problems with swallowing and so on… minor, but uncomfortable.
Thus, on Wednesday, we went to the X-Ray department of our local hospital for him to have a video imaging x-ray, a fluroscopy (??) which involves eating or drinking various items that have been mixed with barium, which shows up on x-rays.
The team were all very welcoming and instantly made my partner feel comfortable and I prepared to wait outside. However… I was somewhat surprised to be invited in to watch… I am fairly (and possibly unreasonably considering my father was a vet and my mother a nurse) squeamish, but I knew there would be very little likelihood of gore or blood, so I accepted.
I stood behind the protective screen and I was able to watch on the monitor. It was very interesting but also very… thought provoking. I could see the fleshly outline of my partner’s head, chin and neck, each vertebrae and cartiliginous structure etched out in delicate detail; somehow comedic but also oddly vulnerable.
All those thoughts and words and feelings, reduced to a bony, fleshy imprint on a screen; all those things that make him the sort of man he is, just a comedic medical procedure of chew, gulp, swallow… I could see his teeth grinding, his throat moving, the oesophagus and larynx flexing and contracting in peristalysis.
I was fascinated to see my partner, who I know so well on the outside, in such an intimate, inside way. All those fragile structures, yet so humanly strong… all those years of evolution and yet we have learned the ability to strip ourselves literally back to the bare bones. What a complex example of Engineering – ruly we should appreciate the Life and body we have.
So… where is it then? What makes us go? Where’s the key? I know, at our basest, we are merely a set of electrical impulses that connect and communicate – but still, what a Marvel! That little ingredient, Life, that transforms robot to human; a collection of bones and tendons to a sensate, feeling, breathing creature… Seeing this procedure made me very reflective – by the way there were no abnormalities detected, thankfully.
Afterwards, my partner asked me:
“What was it like? What did you see?”
To which I replied:
“Nothing – and Everything.”