A Charmed Life

(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!”


21 responses to “A Charmed Life

  1. As the parent of a child who’s had serious medical issues, I know that feeling of sitting in a waiting room scared to death about what the doctor is going to find. I’m happy for you (and him) that it turned out well.

    And it doesn’t matter how old he is now or ever. He will always be your child and you will always want to protect him. Tell him he might as well get used to it.

    What an awesome responsibility we took on when we had children. Scary as it can sometimes be, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world and I bet you wouldn’t either.

  2. I am very glad to hear that he received such an excellent report. The antibiotics before dental work is very important and often easy to forget.

    As for his response to the female assistants/med students: it’s natural. And it goes the other way too. I had a male friend in med school who as a beginning 3rd year student,stood in the proverbial line to listen to an interesting murmur. (a special thank you to patients who allow this so that future doctors will know what one sounds like) The patient was beautiful, blonde and well-endowed. He put the stethoscope to her chest and heard nothing. Repositioned and still nothing. Finally, she tapped him on the shoulder and with a giggle said,”It might help if you put those (the earpieces) in your ears.” Needless to say the poor chap never lived that one down.

    Again, glad to hear of the good report.

  3. Oh, srp’s comment was funny.

    This is why I come back and read every day, Vicki. Your blog is so real. I love your piss and vinegar post. It’s so acerbic. It’s great. Any mother who has ever sat in the doctor’s office with her child can completely relate to that kind of Mama Tiger Rage.

    I am mamma: Hear Me Roar.

  4. First comment from someone who doesn’t know you at all, but is guessing from the gist of this post: I’ll make you a bet. Nicest bottle of wine of your choosing (or mine, since I’m going to win) – I bet you go with him again next year.

    Hey we’re parents, what can we say?

    Very glad to hear another fine year has passed and things are going smoothly.

  5. I have a friend who’s baby had a heart defect.


    It went undetected and her baby died age of 18 months quite unexpectedly.

    Keep going to those appointments, Vicki. Whether he is 18 months, 18 years or beyond…he’s your baby. Don’t let him run and hide from the ugly reality that he needs to deal with it. Be there for him…with him…every single time, regardless of age, until you are certain he can do it alone.

    /soapbox moment.

  6. I love half-nutty women like you who SO have their shit together! Great report on the reed man. Blesseth thou both.

  7. I’m glad that the appointment went well and yes, keep at him about the appointments!

    I know it’s not very Jesusy, but I could totally make a voodoo doll for the son-of-a-bitch. Just as a form of “encouragement” for him to get his act together! Really!

  8. I’m going to go visit Arethusa’s site now. Anyone that can use terms like “Jesusy”, “voodoo doll” and “son-of-a-bitch” in one sentence has to have a good website!

  9. My posse! Thanks guys, for the support and encouraging words.
    -SRP, thanks for your comments and insight.
    -And true enough, as the rest of you point out, there’s nothing quite like a sick child to bring out the tiger.
    -Philip, I may be a woman of that certain age who sometimes forgets even her children’s names, but I never forget when I have a good bootle of wine coming to me. Or not.
    -Because, you’re right, Kathy and Philip, I’m likely to stay on this issue like a tick on a dog.
    -Kathy, good idea. Arethusa’s a wonder with words. And she has live radio broadcasts, too!
    -Hoss, I love you, too.

  10. Love your post here….the part about your son’s arm under the nurse’s armpit…what a great picture! Oh, and I’ll put the tea/coffee on for ya. 🙂 (no, you don’t know me. Muzikdude told me to tell ya hi though).

  11. Most wonderful quote from the Bible, wish more people would read it and Get It.
    Glad to hear the sons appointment went well – and you really didn’t cuss much at all 😉

  12. Excellent! YOU GO GIRL!

    Sad to know of the defect and happy to know it is okay right now.

  13. I couldn’t help myself, Vicki. I’m having a difficult time picturing you being anything but cool, calm, and collected. I shall keep you and Dan in my prayers…oops…heading for the closet!

  14. Bonnie’s back! Yay!

  15. Continued good luck sent your way ;o)

  16. Hooray for that happy appointment! Glad to hear it went so well. And a doc that remembered you 18 years later? That is africkinmazing… Truly.

    Here’s one for you. Keith went in to meet with his surgeon the morning before his scheduled craniotomy (to have his skull opened up so they could burrow into the brain and remove the offending brain tumor) and we sat there chatting for about 20 minutes with the guy who explained what the procedure was that he would do if HE were going to be the one to remove this particular tumor, blah blah blah… and we’re nudging each other because this is the same speech he’d given us a couple of weeks before when we were there to get a second opinion from him on how best to move forward.

    Then his assistant nudges him and shows him her clipboard and he clears his throat and says, “Oh! I see we’re actually operating on you tomorrow, Mr. K…” He couldn’t remember us from TWO WEEKS prior. That should have been a sign. But this WAS a premier medical facility and there are people who still fiercely defend it whenever we say anything… so we don’t anymore. *sigh*

  17. You are doing the right thing, if that’s what you need to hear. (Because you are)

    Thank you for sharing….keep on it. You’re great.

    I, too, always think of that passage when I hear the stuff you are talking about. Good for you for posting it.

  18. Motherhood. You gotta love it. Hey, I’m glad your son is doing so well. He must have a basically very healthy constitution. Well, except for the freakin’ heart defect.

  19. Good Fuckin’ Morning to you too!

    I don’t know shit about motherhood or cardiac defects, but I liked the post. I love it when people say “shut your piehole”. *lol*

    I’m glad it went well. And that you’re wise enough to understand that you were both afraid. That says alot right there. 🙂

    (I’m getting an “invalid url” message, that’s why I didn’t leave my site. I don’t know what the hell that’s all about.)

  20. Iki, that cracks me up (sorry).

    I am with Kathy– I have to go check out Arethusa’s site now.

    Look how many comments you have, Vicki! Dang!!!

  21. Thank God that everything is fine! What everybody said – parenting is a tough job.

    Mr. Dick sounds like a very good doctor, too bad about his name 😉

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