Why a cardiac surgeon wrote The Spirit of the Heart

Today I get to welcome a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Ismael  Nuño, to my site. As well as mending hearts, he's the author of a non-fiction story collection called The Spirit of the HeartIt's hard to imagine how someone with such a high-stress, high-power job finds time or patience to write, so it should be fascinating to learn why Dr. Nuño wrote this book.

First, the book blurb: Written by former leading cardiac surgeon Dr. Ismael Nuño – The Spirit of the Heart is a collection of heart-warming stories that resonate at the core of our humanness. Fixing "broken" hearts gave Dr. Nuño a unique and intimate view into the power of the heart. Over the years he learned that even while coming face to face with death and losing patients, there is a beauty that can exist, even in loss. Dr. Nuño graciously offers the insights he has gained from occupying a front-row seat at some of life's most real and raw moments. Part memoir, part self-help - these tender stories teach us about what it means to be human, to be connected to others, to love, to live, to forgive.

Then the author bio: Dr. Nuño was born in Mexico. He obtained his MD in 1976. He received training in General Surgery and subsequently in Cardio-Thoracic surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Dr. Nuño was in the US Army for a period of ten years. He was Deputy Commander for 5th MASH during the Gulf War. The last 15 years of his career were as Chief of Cardiac Surgery at LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He is now retired and lives in Marina del Rey, California.

And now the question: What inspired you to write the book?

Why I wrote the book…
I remember that morning as I ever will.  It was a balmy and overcast day.  I was recovering from hip surgery at home.  My wife, son, and daughter would have left by seven that morning to school.  I, would continue my recovery by watching the O.J. Simpson trial on TV.  I got up out of bed and I could sense a deep silence in our house.  Ordinarily our zoo at home included squawks, barks, cage rattling and bell ringing.  This morning, it was silent.  One could cut the silence with a knife. 

I saw my daughter’s car parked outside and her school backpack still in the family room.  I suddenly realized something was terribly wrong.  My daughter was still at home and something was not right.  I ran to her room downstairs and to my shock, my daughter was lying on the bathroom floor.  She was as white as a sheet.  No pulses, no breaths----lifeless.  I had called 911 and begun CPR on her lifeless body.  The paramedics arrived and they had to pry me off of my daughter’s body.  But, something was incomplete.  Something was missing.  I had to make a decision to stop giving CPR to my daughter and forever say goodbye.  The hole in my heart that I felt was a sign that there was and always will be missing.  My daughter’s life and story had to be told for ever and ever more.  The telling of her life story was still not complete.   I would have to tell people of Catharine.  I would have to talk about it, I would have to write it down and show it to people.  I would begin filling that void by writing a book.  It would mention not only about my daughter but also, about death and the dying.  I would have to talk and write about the respect that must be given to those that die.  In death, we pass on to another long journey.  We, who must stay behind, should show respect, benevolence, and undisputed remembrance.  I wrote the book The Spirit of the Heart to put on paper the journey of humans that travel through the farewell of another human being, of a  loved one.  I wanted to leave a legacy of love, tenderness and a record that once a beautiful young girl walked amongst us.

An inspiration can come from a moment, an occasion, an event that forever changed our lives.  History will record the chronological movement of humanity, a book will secure a given thought that should always be caught in time.  A daughter, a farewell, death, eternity will always thrash around in my head as I read the book I have written.  I hope my readers will get a sense of my thought process involved in wanting to make a young girl part of my life and my legacy.

Thank you so much Dr. Nuño. What a powerful inspiration. I wish you well with the book and I hope your readers will be inspired too as they share your thought processes and maybe find new meaning in their own losses. Thank you for visiting my blog today.


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