“Grossly Unremarkable”

A few weeks ago, my husband had a chest x-ray which determined, among other things, that his cardiac structure was “grossly unremarkable.” I took issue with this grossly mundane medical description of a human heart and wrote the following poem. I am publishing this on the occasion of our wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Edmund.


This heart, which began beating at twenty-four days in utero and has continued on for seventy-four years?

This heart, which has loved one woman for fifty-two years, three sons, three daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, and countless stray dogs and the occasional cat?

This heart which has continued on in spite of compromised dreams and the loss of old friends and loved ones?

This heart which has beaten 2,838,240,000 times and pumped 54,020,000 gallons of blood a distance of 324,120,000 miles?

Grossly unremarkable? Physician, open your eyes. This heart, every human heart, is divinely, amazingly, remarkable!

6 thoughts

  1. This may be your best blog ever! Of course, you realize that this remarkable story will go on and on and on-I hope


  2. Beautiful!!! Stupid, nonsensical, and lazy phrases like that slip into the Medical lexicon where they remain unchallenged, routine and less than descriptive of anything at all. You will often find the word “unremarkable” used in documentation of a physical exam: “Head, eyes,ears, nose and throat: Unremarkable”. So, sweet and quite remarkable Edmund might also have been found to have other quite unremarkable parts of his body. There is more poetry to be written by his lovely wife. Happy Anniversary! Susan Sent from my iPad Susan Henning



  3. I agree, Susan. I’m not sure when the terminology came into use, but maybe it’s time for the medical profession to revisit it and come up with something that is still an objective description but a bit less off-putting. We have changed the terminology for some learning disabilities and developmental challenges. Maybe it’s time to work on that physician-speak.


  4. A poet after my own “heart”. A recent EKG reported that my heart was “grossly unremarkable”. I immediately begged to differ…I have a wonderful heart and anyone who knows me…knows that. Love your poem…and y Ur heart.


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