Tuesday, July 27, 2010

it's how i roll

this morning, i was chatting with a friend, a fellow heart mom (gotta love facebook!), and i got to thinking. this life, you know, it does things to you. weird things. it warps you, in a way.

mind you, i almost titled this post, "quothe the heart mom to the cardiologist, 'do you know the kind of life i had to have to prepare for asher?!'" so maybe it's not heart life that does this. but it definitely reinforces it.

what i'm talking about, dear readers, is my sense of humour.

my warped and very, very, VERY dark sense of humour.

to whit, i give you some of the things i've laughed and joked about over the last 3+ years.

  1. when asher was diagnosed, at 8 days old, it was rough. and by "rough," i mean that the next two days in their entirety were spent with docs giving me bad news. all the time. for two whole days. i said to asher's dad over supper on day 2, "ok, i need something to laugh at here. if i can laugh at just one thing, it won't be so horrible." and i started thinking. i'll admit, it took me a couple minutes, and i was starting to lose hope. and then, as i was about to give up, it hit me. "doc said he's going to be blue. well, that makes hallowe'en easy: he'll be grover."
  2. leading up to the glenn, asher was very weak and not doing well at all. his sats were in the 60s, his BP was rising daily, he had no energy and was sleeping over 20 hours a day. and he didn't just have the glenn. he was to have the norwood AND the glenn at the same time. two very big surgeries at the same time. and at that point, asher was averaging an admission every month, plus appointments every single day, and countless trips to emerg. i was worn out, exhausted, and quickly running out of hope. i was certain that asher was going to die in the OR. you couldn't tell me otherwise. he was going. to. die. now, i tried to get past that thought. i wanted to believe that he would make it through. so i tried picturing life post-glenn. but every time i did, i could only see 2 kids at home. no asher. so that wasn't working. so i decided that the best i could do would be to imagine asher just surviving the surgery. even if he didn't make it home, at least he'd come out of the OR. i knew what to expect post-op in the unit, so i pictured that. horrible images to cling to, really, but i figured, if he made it through the surgery, he could still die in the unit, but at least i would be there when he passed. and then, one day, while picturing asher with all the tubes and lines and meds and monitors and everything, i realized that his rib cage would probably be suspended post-op. so i added that to my visualization. his chest open, wires wrapped around his ribs and looped over another wire above his crib. (don't know if you've ever seen it or not. it's not quite as gruesome as it sounds.) and then i started laughing. hysterically. i mean, i was almost literally peeing myself from laughing. because, i thought, when people asked me how asher was doing, i could say, "he's hanging in there."
  3. during one trip to emerg, i was talking to a med student, and (trying to) teach him about asher's heart. he was having none of it. he insisted that he knew everything, and i knew nothing. he argued with me about what the surgeons have done, and the meds asher's on (i said at one point, "that's fine. you can disagree with me about Lasix and HCT. in fact, why don't you call the doc who switched the meds. his nephrologist. whose other specialty is pharmacology. it's dr f. you know. chief of paediatrics. you can ask him." yeah, i was not impressed with this clerk at all. anyhoo... once i had finished (trying to) teach kid about asher's conditions, he asked, "so, what caused all this?" "nothing," i answered, "HLHS just happens." "no, i mean, were you sick during the pregnancy? what made his heart go like this?" "nothing," i replied through gritted teeth, "HLHS. just. happens." "no, i mean, did you drink? did you do drugs? did you take meds you weren't supposed to?" well, i looked the young man in the eye, and said with a straight face (and without violence, i might add), "actually, somewhere around the 7-month mark, i sneezed too hard and his ventricle fell off."
  4. during the spring, i was having lunch with D., dr caldarone's wife. (and no, that's not the surreal part.) these lunches were great; i would tell her about the journey with asher, and she would tell me all about "chris" (dr c) and their lives. anyway, it was during asher's pacemaker admission. D and i are having lunch, and she tells me about their dinner table conversation the night before. dr c was talking about pacemakers (not disclosing any confidential info, don't worry. just talking pacers in general) and one of the kids asked what a pacemaker looks like. so dr c described it, and the oldest said, "i think i had one of those in my desk! but i didn't know what it was, so i threw it out." but wait! that's not the funny part!!! the next day, dr c came in to do the informed consent bit etc. so i said to him, "now, you're sure you have a pacemaker for him, right? no one threw it out or anything?" 
  5. another dr c story (i have several). asher went in to the OR at 8am on the morning of the Glenn. dr c came out to the waiting room at 8:40am. (all you heart moms should just read the story before you vomit; it's ok.) he came over to me and sat down. apparently he needed to add something to the consent form but he needed me to witness it so that it was legit. no problem. then he said to me, "ok, well, we haven't started yet." "I HOPE NOT! because you're out here!!!" and he just looked at me like i was crazy for a moment. then when he saw i was laughing, he laughed, too.
  6. yet another dr c story. D and i were again having lunch (sometimes i just shake my head at the twists and turns and unexpected acquaintances that come my way in this life). we were discussing the letter i'd written to dr c back in december. i refer at one point to his hobbies (yes, he has some!!!), and she said that he bakes and makes "the best pasta sauce in the world," and "did you know he sews?" "I HOPE SO!!!"
  7. back in the day (asher was 4 months old), he was admitted to PCCU in london. dr b came in to see us because he'd heard that we were there and he just wanted to check on asher and see how we were doing. he said at one point, "i'll be back in a little while. just a social call, to see how you're doing, if you need anything." i said to him, "while we're here, the only thing i ever need is coffee" (take note, readers in the area). "i can bring you coffee," he said, "how do you take it?" "two cream," i said. "alright, two cream. no sugar?" "i'm sweet enough," i replied with a smile on my face. "yeah, i'm not gonna touch that one!" he said. yes, folks, i can joke around with cardiologists. 
this is how a lot of us get through. we laugh. you may remember the post from the other day about band-aids. it's how we cope. it's true what they say,

"if you don't laugh, you cry."

and when there's so much to cry about, you learn to laugh at just about anything. it's how we roll.


Carrie Flynn said...

The sneeze may be my favorite thus far. :)

Heather said...

it's our paediatrician's fave SN mom line of all time. LOL