09 June 2013

Core, from Fr. cœur

Did you know that the English word "core" comes from the French word « cœur », meaning heart? The word cœur isn't used systematically in French to mean "core" — the core of an apple is called le trognon — but some vegetables, including celery (stalks) and lettuce, do have a "heart", which is the finest, tenderest, and most delicious part to eat. Another "vegetable" used in salads in France is hearts of palm, or cœurs de palmier.

This photo of a celery root or celeriac, with a melon next to it for scale, has nothing much to do with the rest of this post.
However, a céleri-rave does have a kind of core or cœur, which can be pithy or just hollow.

I haven't meant to be mysterious about my recent doctor appointments in Blois. They have to do with my heart, and the doctor is a cardiologue, but we don't think there's anything serious going on. I went to see him for a routine exam, because of my age. He told me that I have a slightly irregular heartbeat, but I believe I have had it for many years — maybe since childhood, when I had scarlet fever.

In French, what I have, he said, is beaucoup d'extrasystoles, une extrasystolie, or une prématurité. In English, it's called a "premature ventricular contraction" (PVC). The cardio asked me to wear a heart monitor called a "holter" (after the name of the doctor who invented it) for 24 hours so that he could see if the PVC is constant or is more frequent at certain times of the day or related to physical activity. I'll get results this week.


  1. I had to wear one of those a couple of times and there is absolutely nothing wrong with my heart. I hope you have the same outcome!

  2. Good to get these things checked out. Here's hoping a very stable result.

    We should not forget the coeur d'artichaut -- my favorite vegetable coeur.

    Your post reminds me of a day in linguistics class; we spent, I think, spending the whole session on the different meanings of "coeur".

  3. Ellen, how could I forget cœur d'artichaut with all its meanings. But I did. Thanks.

  4. Bonjour Ken,
    Je souffle un peu après des jours hyper bookés au lycée... Et je suis toute contente de lire vos blogs à nouveau :-)
    J'ai porté un "holter" 2 fois, et l'on a trouvé que je "fabriquais" pas mal d'extra-systoles (1 tous les 5 battements), pour plus de confort, je prends un bêta-bloquant car c'était angoissant de les sentir par moments en cours, par exemple, ça peut être angoissant vu que le coeur s'arrête 1 seconde je crois après 1 extra-systole... Quelques fois, je devais attendre 2 secondes pour répondre à l'élève quand je ressentais ce genre de "plouf"...
    Le risque, c'est que ça devienne un jour de l'arythmie...
    A présent, il est rare que je ressente mes extra-systoles... Je me les fabrique toute seule en raison de ma "nervosité" :-) Il faut éviter les excitants : le café (j'en ai horreur), le thé fortement théiné, l'alcool, bien sûr... Mais, tu me connais, j'aime bien mon verre de vin ;-) Je fais attention à ne pas boire trop de vin blanc, c'est ce qui m'a quelquefois provoqué une tachychardie ...
    Dites, les Garçons, un p'tit tour chez moi la semaine à venir pour l'Armada, ça vous dirait ?

  5. my hubby wore one of those for a day too...and he's fine......at least you'll have a record of the beat i guess......the mental stress probably makes it worse! good luck

  6. I feel smarter now, knowing that a core is the heart of the matter. I have friends whose last name is Core, so now their name has an extra layer of meaning.

    I'm glad you are taking care of your coeur, an ounce of prevention, etc. That holter monitor is quite useful- I hope it gives your ticker a good report.

  7. I am going through the same symptoms and recommendations you are going through. Apparently it is not unusual at all.

  8. I remember one of my Midwest cousins going through a similar cardiac workup. I thought it ominous that they lived in a suburb of St. Louis named "Crève Coeur".

  9. Hey, Dean France, you have a cousin in Creve Coeur? That's where my mom lives, and where I used to live :) There's a (surely totally made up) story at Creve Coeur Park about an Indian maiden who jumped (from a small cliff) to her death because her heart was broken. I always tell people, "That's where the Indian maiden creeeved her coeur."

    Good vibes to you, Ken-- my mom, also, has worn the holster.

  10. i'm glad you are getting checked out. i hope you know that we all care about you (and Walt!) you were very generous to share this with us. thank you. :-)

  11. I first had a Holter monitor when my PVCs first began in 1981. I had another one about a year ago. They are MUCH smaller and easier to wear now! The 1981 version was about the size of a cigar box (archaic reference?)and was carried around on a strap on the shoulder. It was a slow tape recorder. I hope all goes well for you. Mine have been controlled very well with medicine.

  12. It's best to be on the safe side where our health is concerned.
    I'm sure everything is a-okay.

  13. I also have PVCs. My GP sent me to a cardiologist who gave me a stress test and had me wear a monitor. When it was all over and they pronounced me fit, I told my mom. She said "Oh, that. I've got it and your grandfather had it. It's nothing."

    I should have talked to her first.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?