A few days ago I got a letter in the mail. It was from the Children's Hospital. For some reason I assumed it was a bill (even though we live in Canada and don't have to pay for anything medically). When I opened it, I discovered instead, that it was an announcement of Puck's next cardiology appointment.
They plan on doing an ECG and an echocardiogram, along with a half hour consult with his cardiologist afterwards. Seeing it all in writing made me gasp out loud. I don't know why it would surprise me. I knew he was having another appointment in early January. But I guess I was expecting a quick 20 minute echo like the last one... To see they are doing it for an hour, with a 20 minute ECG to boot... made my stomach turn.
I guess it really struck me, once again, how serious his heart defect is. I feed him, bathe him, change him, cuddle him, and other than the medicine I give him twice a day and the regimented feedings...it all seems so natural...so typical. I can almost forget how sick he is, and then moments like the letter just hit me extra hard.
I know his two month appointment is very important since heart surgery for this defect is performed between three and six months...but it's hard to imagine getting anything but good news. If we go into that appointment expecting that the holes are growing over only to discover they will be scheduling us for a surgery date...well I don't know how I'm supposed to digest that...how I'm supposed to handle that.
How can anyone expect a mother to deal with handing over their child to a perfect stranger whose job it is to slice said child open, crack their ribs apart, and stop their heart in order to repair the defect. How am I supposed to accept that my child's heart has to stop...that essentially he has to die...in order to save his life.
I just can't prepare myself for the horror of it. I can't believe that he will need surgery because the very thought of hugging and kissing him, and saying goodbye while they wheel him into the OR seems preposterous...torturous. How can I do that? How can I ever let him go knowing there's a chance...however small...that it could be the last time I ever feel his warmth next to mine?
How do I sit there for endless hours wondering if my son is alright? Wondering if there's been complications? Wondering if the surgery will in fact fix him? I know that his defect is notoriously difficult to close. I know that there can be residual holes, and that sometimes a second surgery is needed. I can't imagine ever having to do it once...but twice?
I know I'm getting ahead of myself. I know that January may come and we may get wonderful news. I guess my pessimistic side is trying to caution me, trying to force me to prepare. And yet I know...preparing for something so...unnatural...just isn't possible. So why worry?