Friday, April 04, 2008

Bramble - Ramble

I'm posting less out of having anything to share or say and more to get, "The Final Word" off the top of the page because it looks so, well, final. Like "The Final Word" is really: goodbye! And of course, Internet, it's not goodbye because I could never leave you like that because I love you and I might want to marry you and have little tiny blogs with you... or at least take you to dinner.

In any case, things have been busy. Easter! Spring Break! Hugh's Birthday! See? Lots o'fun things which require exclamation points to emphasize their total fun-ness.!!

Hugh's birthday, he is 39 by the way and thanks you in advance for all the nice comments we know you're going to leave saying he doesn't look a day over 38, was the 17th birthday of his we have celebrated together which makes 17 birthday parties I have thrown for him... the first being for his 22nd birthday when my roommate and I hung thousands of various shades of blue crepe paper streamers from our living room ceiling and put beta fish in small bowls all over the apartment to create the illusion of being in an aquarium because clearly we had a subscription to Martha Stewart Living that year and t-h-e-m-e-s were important. As the years have gone by I have stressed less theme and more liquor.

And that liquor increase has caused moments such as the time at Hugh's 23rd birthday party when some guy he was working with passed out in such a total and complete coma that we thought maybe he was dead and should we just leave him on the floor and see if he is still there in the morning or call 911? Or maybe just place flower in his cold stiff hands?

There was Hugh's 27th birthday when I sort of figured out during prep work on 5 spice shrimp that I was either narcoleptic or pregnant.

I had a surprise party for him for his 30th and which was so much fun but not nearly as fun as the surprise party I threw for his 35th when I rented out this restaurant and my shoes got caught in the chef mat by the kitchen and I pitched over only to be caught by our good friend Dan Walker and his quick acting reflexes...

And of course, there was his 29th birthday (out of order! fun!) which was a couple of weeks before Jack was born and it was spent with me in bed because hello, Kristin, this is your doctor and I am giving you orders to stay in bed and eat ice cream because that baby you are carrying needs to weigh at least 5 lbs. at birth... you know, in case we have to operate on his heart right away... I went home and didn't get out of bed for 6 weeks.

So yes, Hugh has just turned 39 and Jack is about to turn 10 and Hugh is aging well and Jack is maybe not aging quite as well.... see, Jack was only 2 months old when he had his heart surgery and the surgeon created a small pulmonary "flap" instead of "valve" for him (as they do for babies because they are little and growing and so on...) and because it is a "flap" and not a proper "valve" it leaks which is important to watch because you cannot have too much a leak because that is bad and because this "flap" is made from bovine material (all you PETA people can shutty) it has a shelf life which is - guess with me now, yes, about 10 years.

And you know, it doesn't grow with him so if you are guessing that the heart of a 10 year old is bigger than the heart of a 2 month old, you would be right.

Jack goes to the cardiologist every 6 months and every single visit begins with me on the verge of throwing up until I get the "all clear"... which is what we get every single visit and then we go get milkshakes.

Until the visit. This visit introduced a new twist in the "all clear" which reads like this:

Doctor: I would no longer qualify his leak as mild to moderate, I would only say moderate.

Me: Um, ok. So, when do you think we'll need to go in and give him a proper pulmonary valve?

Doctor: Within the next 5 years.

Now, believe it or not, this is not terrible news. I mean, we KNEW this was coming - we've known for 10 years that this was coming and there have been really amazing strides made in pulmonic valve replacement and Jack should be able to have this procedure preformed in a cath lab... the days of cracking open the chest are quickly moving behind us (please God, please God, please God) and his doctor hasn't imposed any limitations on him - play tennis! Swim! Surf!

But it has hit me like a mean and fat brick to the head.

In 6 months he is "worse". 6 mere months.

It's paralyzing me. I used to be so good and so strong, but I am having a hard time with this... back when our lives were nothing but one surgery after another I was awesome. I rallied back again and again and kept those homefires burning and spirits up and was nothing short of the best mother ever.

Yet, here I am, a mess.

And with that, I leave this post where it started out as one thing and ended up something else.


furiousBall said...

Big prayers for your Jack. I'm channeling all the good vibes I can, if you look at map today, you'll see New Jersey glowing (and for once it's not the toxic waste)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is important to stress liquor over themes where birthday parties are concerned.

As for your boy, everything you've said about him on your blog is so great that I think we should arrange a marriage between him and my nine-and-a-half y.o. (Because that "and a half" is SO important, you know.) I know he'll grow up to be a great adult and, since both he and my girl love dogs, they can have a houseful together. And then you and I can be MIL together and it would be great.

And there would be liquor.

Occidental Girl said...

Oh man. It is hard, even if you know it's coming. It's your kid! This must amazingly difficult.

I hope it can be the less invasive kind of surgery. Of course, I wish you all well with the process, though I wish there was more I could do.

Anonymous said...

That child is so gorgeous and he is going to be just fine. Don't worry about "falling apart", when push comes to shove you'll deliver!



Daniella said...

I will be praying for Jack and your family. I can't imagine how very difficult this is for you. Stay strong and know you have many, many people praying and sending positive thoughts your way.

~ Your birthday parties sound like fun - Would you like to help my husband through me my 40th this August? :)

carrie said...

Oh Kristin, it'll be okay.

He is strong and even though you knew this day would come, having it actually close would make my stomach turn too.


jennie said...

your reaction seems totally normal to me. when things are tough around here I can take it - for a long time. and then, as things improve and I let my strengh take a break, the need for it again knocks me over. after feeling sad about it for a bit, I can always bring it back. I'm sure you'll get there too.

Mel said...


I'm sending all my 'good vibes' your way, K.

Kristin said...

I know it's a bit much for me to be so full of drama about this and I am a bit confused as to why I am so completely thrown by the situation: I did know it was coming, after all, but my psyche (that cruel bitch) has opted for breakdown.

Thank you for all of your support - I certainly need it and Jack, most of all, needs your good thoughts and prayers and wishes.


Joannah said...

I'm sorry, Kristin. That must be overwhelming and scary. I'm sure you'll find all the strength you need when the time comes. Jack is such a cute boy!

Wendy said...

Kristin, I can only imagine how much it sucks to know Jack will have to have surgery, again. I do believe that surgeries are so fined tuned now, so hopefully his will be less invasive.

Happy 39th to Hugh! Oh, to be 39 again...

Kayce said...

Kristin...sending you major hugs and sending up the biggest prayers for you, Hugh and for Jack. HUG HUG HUG!

Gracencameronsmomy said...

Happy Birthday Hugh! You don't look a day over 38! Poor Jack, I am sorry you and he has to go through that...That would be so hard...hugs!
(and I am so not a "hugs" type of person)

Poppy Buxom said...

Of course it gets harder. They get older and you love them more, and they're not just a sweet blob of baby, they're people with fascinating characters. So it's harder.

Also, I agree with Jennie. My son's first trip to the emergency room, when he was one and a half, I was a champ. The second need for stitches in less than a month? Had me calling up my husband and sobbing, and telling him I Wasn't Doing This Alone.

Grim Reality Girl said...


I will keep up prayers for Jack. Even when you know the day is coming you will always be shocked -- that is how we are built. You are strong and will find even more strength within you. Hang in there! You are not alone. Happy Birthday Hugh! Best of luck and many prayers to you Jack! This too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Were it not for these damn kids, we'd be footloose and fancy free, huh?

(That is a joke, people)

Anything having to do with our kids' health is nerve wracking no matter how well prepared we might like to think we are. I'm sure he'll be fine. He'll be great! I'm sending you lots of love and support.

Rach said...

You're Jack's momma and your feelings are definitely warranted! You'll find your strength when you need it most. Good thoughts and prayers coming your family's way!

Los said...

Wow, Jack's been through a lot in such a short amount of time. I'll be sure to include him in my prayers.

Anne Marie said...

Oh gosh, Kristin, I am thinking of you, your beautiful boy,Jack, and all your family. I am thinking that while you were in the midst of many surgeries at some point you put your armor on, and now, well, you haven't had to be in that mode in awhile.

And gosh, this comment doesn't even begin to be adequate, but I am with you over the internets.

Jodi said...

I can't wait to read the post about his surgery was a success & you all made it through with flying colors.

That being said, I cannot imagine a more scary thing for a Mom to go through. ohmyword. Seeing your kids in pain or needing something "fixed" that we can't fix is so hard for a Mommy to do, because we are used to being able to make bad things go away for our kids. I know I am not telling you anything you don't know. Hang tight, you all are going to be just fine, I KNOW it!!!!

Joe said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I can't wait to read the update after the surgery goes well.

Kristin said...

I am so grateful to have this place to vent my worries and fears... Jack's next checkup is in 6 months, so we'll know then if things have changed...

Gen said...

SO many hugs and a whole lot of love is being sent your way.

My stomach turned for you when I read that the inevitable is sooner than later.

Now that I am a mom I know that there are no words to help ease that fear and terror that you feel no matter how tough you know your kid is.

Go ahead and have the breakdown if it makes you feel better - I'll send you tissues and have a drink ready when you need one :)

Amy Y said...

Oh, Mama. How scary!! I had no idea... but will keep Jack in my thoughts.

And Hugh too ~ happy birthday to him!