(You probably don’t remember my post where I say I’m trying to use less foul language in my daily life. Well that’s a dead issue today. All bet’s are off. Bonnie, go away now and come back later)
Well, Good Fuckin’ Morning to you, too. This to the cheerful receptionist at Hospital Registration. Readers, leave now if you came looking for some clever but loving anecdote about my delightful family, pictures of my beautiful garden and orphan ducks or any other evidence of my charmed life. Do I lead a charmed life? You bet I do.
So why the hell am I sitting in a (no computer zone. Fuck ‘em) pediatric cardiology clinic at the local University Hospital surrounded by little kid kitchen play furniture and tables piled high with interesting magazines like “Coping: the Magazine of Living with Cardiac Disease” and gummed up Highlights for Children (yes, Goofus and Goodly or whoever the hell they are are still defining the parameters of righteous behavior)?
For the same reason my first-born has been raging around at me for the past week.
He has a congenital heart defect that requires regular monitoring. We waited 3 months between when the pediatrician first heard a
suspicious click in the chest of the second healthiest child on the
planet, (TD being the first. More later.) and when we could be seen at
the specialty clinic filled with tiny infants with blue lips.When it was initially diagnosed when he was seven there was talk of “when they replaced his aortic valve” making open-heart surgery inevitable.
Oh- and an interesting side line, as long as I’m in such a venomous mood. You never hear me complain about the father of my children and probably won’t again but this is as good a time as any to point out that the son-of-a-bitch instantly became despondent, hostile and distant, and within six months announced that he no longer wished to be married. Is he sitting here in this clinic of the damned and doomed today? I think not.
At regular intervals forever we have come over here to have every available med student, intern, resident and finally head of cardiology listen to my son’s interesting click. Then they poke him and prod him and do numerous tests and go, “hmm, well, when he needs his aortic valve replaced…” They always make note of the fact that he can never forget the gut churning mega dose of antibiotics before any dental work. They always carefully explain what symptoms to look for that would indicate an infection in his heart. And then, as we leave they schedule the next appointment a year in advance.
We’re sitting here waiting. The only thing that could make this experience better is if I start to hemorrhage again. Because although I only ever needed 2 of the damned things they’ve come with every lunar cycle forever until recently when, I guess just because I lead such a charmed existence, they come every new moon, full moon, half moon, waning moon- every fucking moon whenever they please.
So my son is pissed because this appointment interferes with music lessons he has to teach in Cleveland. Do I give a shit? No, I do not. He is furious that I didn’t let him make his own appointment, that I treat him like a baby. I point out that I have been asking him for a year to make this one because he is just 25 and there are huge lifelong insurance implications. But I bite my tongue to refrain from saying, “ and by the way, your asshole father let your insurance lapse because he was so sure I was wrong when I said it ended at age 25 and so now we’re in a 30 day grace period and you can’t ever be without insurance, ever, because I don’t have an extra 100,000.00 floating around to cover heart surgery and he sure as shit doesn’t have it and that’s why I pulled strings to get this fucking appointment on short notice. So shut your piehole.”
Since he is 25 shouldn’t he be doing this by himself? I don’t know. He was up before 7 this morning (keep in mind he keeps musician hours) and although he’s been cursing at me all week he seemed relieved that I was apparently getting ready to go with him. “You coming?” “You want me to?” “Yeah”. This will be the last time I go with him.
Why are we both so miserably nasty angry these past few days? Because we’re afraid.
Do I lead a charmed life? Yes, I do. They ran all the usual tests and and then a comely young woman about my son’s age examined him and while she had his arm tucked up under her armpit, resting against the side of her comely chest so she could take his blood pressure she asked him if he ever fainted. I thought he might. She asked him if he had any brothers or sisters and he forgot. Forgot where he lived and what he does. Basically, he giggled anxiously throughout. She let another little woman/child doctor listen to his heart.
Then Dr. Dick (his name, really. I can’t help it) came bouncing in like Mr. Rodgers on Ritalin and recognized him and me from 18 years ago (we’ve been seeing another doctor in between). He marveled anew at his heart lung capacity (from blowing his sax 6-7 hours/day), he was pleased that he runs and swims daily and that he’s otherwise the picture of health. He listened and listened and said he was good. Not now, maybe some day in the distant future and by then they might be doing valve replacement through the femoral artery and not as open heart. Cheerfully claimed that he (Dr. Dick) and I would likely be dead before he had surgery. Pointed out that he needed to keep an eye on himself now that he’s on his own for signs and symptoms of problems. Said, “Son, can I ask you a question? What’s the meaning of the hat?” Dan giggled inanely and showed him his wild curly hair. Dr. Dick said, “Looks fine! Have a great life!” That’s really what he said. “Have a great life!”