One day a nice french physician woke up, brushed his teeth, looked in the mirror and his face looked different.’Cold Cold COOLD’. He ran back to his room and slid his feet into his slippers and walked back into the bathroom realizing his face wasn’t the only significance in his life. His feet had become wet in the cold wet floor of the bathroom and his mind just ignored his peculiar face which looked back at him in the mirror. It was an endless conundrum indeed. He decided his feet were important. Splashing water to his wrinkly face he opened his sleepy eyes while rubbing them. His eyes turned red and again he looked at himself in the mirror. This time the image of his face looked menacingly attractive with the scattered drops of water marking paint brush lines of transparency and lucid strokes of abstraction on the mirror. Puzzled and joyful he walked back to his table and made himself a cup of coffee. He realized the coffee pot needed to be cleaned. It hadn’t been washed for a long time. He pushed open the window and a strong draft of cold morning wind rushed in, uninvited, into his bedroom. He sipped the bitter concoction and adored the streets while watching the milkman ride his bicycle and avoiding the cranky dogs in the morning. Walking to the gramophone he placed a dusty record of ‘Nocturne Op. 9- Frederic Chopin’, given to him by a friend, and waited as the needle scratched the disc and light piano notations entered his ears. Feeling charmed he opened the door to collect the milk. He noticed a small half burnt envelope lying down on the floor. Picking it up he turned it over and he read the line ‘Rene, I hope you find what you need’. He opened the envelope but there was nothing in there. This shocked him. He was disturbed. His morning felt weaker now. Immediately he ran down to the basement of his apartment to check if someone had left in a hurry. He ran towards the gate but there was noone there. The watchman had gone for his daily morning newspaper and tea routine. He was angry and sad. Running back to his door which was two floors above, he entered the room and suddenly felt his brain slow down. He was exhausted and tired. He could see blackness creeping into his eyes and slowly sucking him out of his conscience. He fell flat to the floor with his ear to the ground and all he could hear was his heartbeat which thudded like war drums during a ship battle. In the background Chopin’s melody lingered and his piano matched an inexplicable rhythm of quartets with the thud of his heartbeats. Rene was lost in this magnificent aura of melody and never wanted to come out of it. He closed his eyes as his heartbeat slowed down. ZAP! He woke up with tubes on his arms sleeping on an inclined bed and three nurses gossiping lightly beside his bed. “You just suffered from a mild cardiac arrest Mr Laennec. The doctor will be here in just a while.” Rene looked around in helpless despair. Why did her words seem so dull? Why did the sound of footsteps shuffling seem so bland? There was something missing. He remembered the dusty lines running over a black gleaming disc. Frederic Chopin. Nocturne Op.9! Yes That was it. He requested it to be played in his room and the nurse brought in a gramophone and played it for him. His face dropped and he tore his hair. There was something missing again! He realized!! The thuds. The thuds from his very heart. He wanted to relive those few seconds of losing consciousness in a war orchestra. He realized his face was peculiar for a reason that day. He had to find a way to listen to his heart.
And so that was how the stethoscope was made by Mr Rene Laennec.
Today, its the birthday of the man who invented the stethoscope. Mr Rene Laennec. The whole idea of this man who decided one day that we needed to measure our heartbeat and made it a real possibility sent a fascinating tingle to my brain.