Friday, 20 February 2015


piggly wiggly, heart tests, echocardiogram, piggly mom, whorrified,
as we wait for the anesthetist to arrive.
It's Friday. HUR-frickin-RAY! I started celebrating at precisely one second after midnight because holy hellballs, whatta week this has been. Aside from having to endure my least favourite holiday and the fact that it's been cold enough to turn absinthe to ice (found that out the hard way), there was also a dreaded day of hospital tests for a certain someone who has held my cold black heart in her hand from the moment she was born

I've often alluded to Piggly Wiggly's various health concerns on this blog, and this week, we spent a long day getting the most pressing of those checked out. When Piggly was barely two months old, she was diagnosed with four heart defects. Surgery was a "when," not an "if." Try to imagine life going on as you knew it after getting that news. Every time your baby cries, you panic. Every time she coughs, you panic.  When she naps too long, you tiptoe into the room to make sure she's still breathing. When she wakes up, you check her colour, you feel her hands to make sure they're warm, you run down the list of things the doctors told you to watch out for, and by the end of every day you're so ragged with worry you can't be sure of anything anymore. 
So yes, it's been a long year. And it was about to get longer. 

On Wednesday, Piggly was scheduled for an hour-long echocardiogram and had to be put under for it. I won't lie; we were queasy with fear. It's never easy to watch a tiny baby being anesthetised and wheeled away from you. 
"Can I come with her?" my daughter asked. 
"No," the doctor replied, kindly but firmly.
"Why not?" my daughter persisted, just as firmly. 
"Because my job is to focus on her the entire time I'm in there, and that's what you want," he said. 

piggly wiggly, whorrified, echocardiogram,
There was much more back-and-forthing but in the end my daughter acquiesced and so we sat, making small talk and fidgeting and cussing until finally, after what seemed like an eternity, our baby was brought back to us. 
And while Piggly lay on a gurney beside us, her baby breath fogging the oxygen mask strapped to her tiny face, the cardiologist cradled her clipboard and delivered the news.

In a nutshell, everything was better. Much better. Piggly has ridden through the eye of the storm and her little heart has grown stronger and larger and healthier. So much so that surgery is now not only not in the near future, but possibly not in the future at all. There are still some things they'll "keep an eye on," but the main fears, the things that kept us awake at night, have eased. 

It took my daughter a moment to absorb the news. She is, after all, accustomed to having her heart broken at every medical appointment.
"So I can let her cry?" she asked.
The cardiologist widened her eyes. "Oh, yes, for sure," she said. "Have you not been letting her cry?"
My daughter shook her head. "I couldn't ... " 
"Oh, you poor thing," the cardiologist said. "Yes, she can cry. She can cry, she can run, she can play, she'll be able to be active and do all the things other kids can do."
More questions followed, with more general assurances, and at the end of it, when the doctor had left, I turned to my daughter. "Whew," I said. "This is big."
My daughter nodded.
"This is fantastic," I said.
"I know," she said. 
"So why aren't you jumping up and down?"
"I am, inside," she said. "It's just ... I've been worried about her heart for so long I'm afraid to believe it."
Well that broke my heart, so between that and the tests and that stinkin rotten V.D. thing, this week has been all about hearts. 

Meanwhile, Piggly began stirring and of course my daughter immediately picked her up and started trying to insert foodstuffs into her mouth because never mind that the last thing anyone wants while the propofol is wearing off is food, Mom had been forcibly restrained from nurturing for more than an hour now and was going into withdrawal. MOMMY NEEDS YOU TO HAVE SOME DAMN BANANA, KID, JUST ACCEPT IT! Ah, life. Sometimes it really is beautiful. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a helluva lot of celebrating to do. *shakes absinthe bottle, frowns* Goddamit! I'm going to have to eat this with an ice pick! 

It's my Glamma's organs we should be worrying about ...