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Friday, February 19, 2010

Life is Fragile; Handle with Prayer

Yesterday was our visit with the pediatric cardiologist. I want to say that they've found the answer for my son's fainting episode, but honestly, I blocked out so much of the visit I'm not even sure what I learned from it.

It didn't help that, when we first entered the office waiting area, I crossed paths with a man on his cell phone who told someone on the other end, "The baby didn't make it." It wasn't even my child, but I nearly lost it. That sort of put things into perspective for me - that it could always be worse. Much, much worse.

We're finishing the last three-quarters of a 24-hour session with a holter monitor, because the EKG didn't tell the doctor a whole lot. What it did reveal, though, is something called "ectopic atrial pacemaker," which basically means that my son's 'natural pacemaker' is on the opposite side of his heart than it should be. While the results looked promising, and the doctor reassured me he just wanted to be sure that everything was okay, the mere mention of the words "sudden death episode" sent me into a downward spiral. I think my brain blocked out all the positive words of encouragement he offered, like the fact that my son shows no 'alarm signs' that could possibly lead to such an episode.

Normally I'm a 'research nut' and will look up anything to learn more. But at times like this, Google is definitely not my friend. I've decided that, after a basic cursory search, I'm not interested in raising my blood pressure that much and will wait patiently to see what the doctor says. 

Of course any questions I had, I thought of after our visit. And it doesn't help that the first thing that came to mind was a young man whom my husband knew in college who collapsed and died suddenly while playing floor hockey. I am trying very hard to banish that image from my mind.

If anything, this episode serves as a wake-up call. To appreciate my children more. To be more patient with an otherwise normally trying, active six-year-old. To spend more time enjoying my children. To pick my battles better and not freak out about the stupid, unimportant stuff that doesn't even matter. Sometimes that wake-up call is subtle; sometimes it's like a two-by-four smacking you upside the head to get your attention NOW. I guess this would be one of those times.

I look back over my time so far with my oldest and kind of laugh, jokingly thinking about how he's been a "troublemaker" since his days in the womb. When I was four months pregnant, I had an unexplained bleeding episode that resolved itself. At six months old, he had minor surgery to repair a clubfoot, which was done on an outpatient basis at our local children's hospital. I overheard a couple talking to their child's doctor about "biopsies," which put things into perspective for me. I thought about that couple yesterday, and the worries that I've had about my child over the years. What if something did happen? What if I lost my son? That is definitely something that no parent should ever have to think, but unfortunately some do, every day.

In the meantime, we are taking one day at a time. Doing our normal thing, trying to ignore the possible black cloud that might be lurking in the background, and praying to God that it has a silver lining.


Lady Anne said...

I do understand what you mean about not remembering anything the doctor told you about your son's condition. After two years of continuing trouble with loss of coordination, stumbling, etc., my sister had a full-body nerve conduction test. The doctor told her to get dressed and he wanted to talk to her and her husband.

Lynn told me the doctor said, "You have ALS" and walked out of the room. George said the doctor stayed with them for almost an hour, answering questions, and giving them info on resourses available to them, including a government research program which would help cover some of their expenses.

I hope you find a solution to your son's fainting spells!

The Deranged Housewife said...

I am so sorry to hear about your sister's diagnosis. My husband's uncle succumbed to ALS two years ago and it was a rough time. I hope they can someday find a cure for it.