Today, I performed an echo on a woman with Situs Inversus. This is a very rare condition “in which ALL major organs are reversed and mirrored from their normal positions”. Basically, everything on our left is on her right side and vice versa.
I’ve done a couple echoes on patients with Dextrocardia (this is where the heart is on the right side instead of the left, but all other organs are in their “normal” places). But, in my eighteen year career, this was the first complete Situs inversus that I have seen and can remember in the flesh, outside the textbooks I learned about them in.
She was my last patient of the day and arrived about fifteen minutes late, so I was already ready to go. Normally, I think I would have seen “Situs inversus” in her chart and groaned. This would take SO much longer than a normal study! But, this time, I didn’t. I thought, “Cool, let’s see what’s inside and how good of pictures I can get on her. I wanna see this.”
I had to turn her the opposite direction we normally do. My probe had to be turned completely opposite of how I normally hold it. It was truly a mirror image. A challenge. An anomaly. A needle in a haystack. An amazing sight to behold. A lesson.
I asked her how she found out about it and she told me that it wasn’t until a surgeon couldn’t find her gallbladder during an operation to remove it, that she knew she had this very rare condition. They eventually found her gallbladder…on the other side of her body. Her kids didn’t have it. Her parents didn’t have it.
I kept telling her how special she was as I scanned her. Her organs were perfectly functioning, but they were put together and placed in her body completely opposite from yours and mine. By her Creator. She was made that way. Perfectly, but differently.
She was a blatant and beautiful reminder to me that we are all created differently. Yet, still wonderfully and fearfully. Knit together in His own way. Divine fingerprints.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 14-16 (NIV)
I couldn’t wait to get home and write this. She excited me. I come across people every day with organs that are put in the “normal” way, but don’t work right. Hers are perfectly functioning, just switched. Made that way.
She was my first. I may never see another Situs Inversus person from the inside, but now I’m aware they are out there, looking just like me from the outside. I thank God for the lesson He poured into my heart while I was searching for and scanning hers.
As she left my lab, I reminded her that God made her super special. And, that goes for you too. Different and set apart for His purposes. To proclaim His name and share your story of who He has been to you, Who He is to you, and why you still cling to Him….after everything.
Fearfully and wonderfully made.