Gratitude for Tubes Open and Shut

It’s the time of year to be thankful-but as a cardiologist, my sense of gratitude extends to a topic not often considered…hydraulics.

To maintain health, our bodies depend on an intricate system of tubes: tubes for oxygen filled blood and tubes for blood depleted, tubes for liquid waste and tubes for solids. Some tubes need to remain open, others work best alternating between open and shut. How incredible it is that this fragile network of tubes usually works so well. When healthy, it’s easy to take this masterpiece for granted, so I invite you to consider:


-the wonder of how your kidneys silently filter your blood and flush excesses away

-the awe of the nonstop beating of your heart

-the marvel of barriers that hold digested food internally until the time is right (some traditions even suggest acknowledging this act with a prayer)

-the mystery of how breath enters and exits your body so effortlessly

-the beauty of your body’s exquisite interconnectedness that coordinates the function of so many tubes


Much of medicine, especially cardiology, focuses on keeping our various tubes open. And a lot depends on the choices we make as to what we bring into our bodies.

But at this time, I invite you to not only appreciate the wonder of what we consume, but to also marvel at the the journey within–and be grateful for tubes open and shut.


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