Art on the Human Heart
Art on the Human Heart is the moving true story of author, Dr. Paul C. Ho. A brilliant heart doctor, at the age of only 39 he is unexpectedly struck down by a major heart attack that leads to open heart surgery. Dr. Ho’s (or Dr. Paul, as he is affectionately known by his patients) story begins with the traumatic event of his heart attack and procedures leading him ultimately to open heart surgery. He then takes us back to the beginning of his life in China and his immigration to America at age 13. He starts by telling us of the open-hearted and free spirit he was as a child and how he was drawn to all types of artistic expression. It is when he starts sharing his experiences as an American immigrant and the cruelty and hardship faced by both himself, as well as members of his family. He also shares that, during this time, he is drawn from the carefree artistic person he once was and succumbs to the American ideal of success being defined by his professional advancement. He turns away from his type-B artistic tendencies to focus on schooling and depends on a regimented, type-A personality. He goes to Nome, Alaska, and works in the remote medical centers as part of his schooling. He finds love upon returning to California but is still focused on becoming the best heart doctor in the field of heart catheter procedures. He achieves this success by treating patients who come to him praising his skills and putting their lives in his hands. However, his enthusiasm and lack of tolerance for those in his field who do not share his work ethic, especially when he is asked to help overhaul a failing hospital’s cardiac unit, challenge him professionally and garner him as “unfavorable” to other cardiologists who are happy doing things the way they always have.
Ironically enough, it is also during his time he has his heart attack. As he recuperates, he is torn between making the necessary improvements to the hospital and the tranquility of Alaska, taking the first of many trips back there to center him. Ultimately, as he continues with his work at the hospital, he begins to question what matters most success or self-fulfillment. He must decide does he follow his calling as a doctor or follow the call deep in his heart.
Despite all of the medical terms, procedures, and information that would confuse anyone not in the cardiac field, Dr. Paul shows that even though the medical field is technical and must follow procedures for success, it is an art form that is amazingly beautiful. As he describes several of his procedures in the book, he does it in a way that you could easily compare it to an artist carefully and purposefully moving their paintbrush across a canvas. This book is about the human heart on many different levels, and Dr. Paul is able articulate that to perfection. He shows readers that you must take care of your heart, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually to be truly fulfilled. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or any other person in a high-stress job, you must read this book because it will make you take a step back and look at your life. This book touches your heart and informs, as well as inspires.
Paul C. Ho