Thursday, September 20, 2012

Matters of the Heart: Update!

Have I mentioned that Clare’s absolute favorite show is “Wheel of Fortune”? She likes it even better than “Sesame Street,” despite the fact that Elmo has yet to make an appearance. When you think about it, though, “Wheel” is the perfect show for little kids. There are all sorts of interesting colors and lights and constant noises: bells, clapping, cheering. It is totally innocent. No violence or swearing to be seen. (Or heard.) Although, I thought there might be some the other day when the contestant had the following puzzle in the bonus round and failed to solve it: Magic  _and. For shame! Have you never read Harry Potter? The contestants on the show always say a little bit about themselves, and it never fail to mention their “wonderful” husband or wife. They always use the same word. I wonder if they are coached. I told Ben I want to be a contestant and when Pat asks me about myself, I’ll say, “Well Pat, I have been married to my mediocre husband Ben for 6 years.”

This, of course, would be a lie. Ben is a wonderful husband, most of the time. I spend a lot of time one-on-one with Clare, partly because I am home two days a week, and partly because Ben has a lot of evening commitments. And I think I have it pretty well under control. When it comes to a big event or medical appointment or something of that sort, though, I am so grateful I am not a single parent. I don’t know how they do it.

We took Clare to see the pediatric cardiologist last week to discuss the results of her Echo. I was nervous, even though Clare’s pediatrician told me not to worry. (Ha! She obviously does not know me AT ALL.) Clare has two unrelated heart issues. The first is a heart murmur, which is nothing to worry about. It turns out about half the people I know have heart murmurs, and the cardiologist assured us it is no big deal.  The second issue is called a patent foramen ovale or PFO. This is a hole between the left and right atria (upper chambers) of the heart. Everyone has this hole before we are born. It allows blood to go around the lungs of an unborn baby, who doesn’t use its lungs while in the womb. It is supposed to close soon after birth, but sometimes it just doesn’t.  This condition is also not really a big deal, it turns out. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. The doctor said later in life Clare may have some restrictions, like not being allowed to go deep sea diving (shucks!), but for now there is nothing to worry about, unless she has some kind of other cardiac-related incident or illness. So she’s fine. But as a mother, you just don’t want to hear that your baby as ANYTHING wrong with them, especially their heart. This is where it helps to have a rational husband by your side: sometimes I need that extra confirmation, need to make sure he heard what I did, that I didn’t miss something.

So, fingers crossed, we are done with that for the next four years. Then she will repeat the Echo to see if the hole has closed. The doctor also said that recommendations in medicine change all the time, so it is good to check back in.  I just hope they have “Kung Fu Panda” playing next time, too. Although, Clare will be five by then: plenty old enough for me to tell her to just sit still for the love of God! I can hear it already.

"Just give me a computer and I'll be quiet, I swear."


  1. I think it's funny that you watch Wheel of Fortune with your "mediocre" husband & adorable daughter. (Just teasing, Ben. I'm a big fan of yours ... and I agree with Em, you are a GREAT dad.)

    And I'm SO glad that Clare's heart issues turned out to be non-issues. Can you relax now, or will you still worry? (Silly question?)
    Did the doc say anything about Clare needing to take antibiotics in the future before having any dental work done? I think that's the only restriction I've had (with a heart murmur).

  2. So glad to hear the docs say they're non-issues. I know in your heart they're still issues, but you'll worry that off in time. :) But it's true: lots of people have heart murmurs with NO problems.
    I love Wheel. My dad has faithfully watched that show since the day it came on. his favorite part? (And mine, truthfully?) is when he berates contestants about their ridiculous guesses and "mediocre" intelligence (that's putting it lightly).

  3. Watching Wheel of fortune will make her a great speller. Or not.

    Glad the doc was able to reassure you, but you do come from a long line of worriers.