Monday, 17 September 2012

11h15 Monday morning

Yes, today is a school day, and yes, that is a hot fudge sundae Ruby is about to dig into, and yes, it is almost (but not quite) lunch time. At this point, I'm pretty sure you're wondering what kind of mother I am. Well, going to McDonald's is something of a tradition for me and Ruby. I take her here several times a year for a sundae, after every hospital appointment.

You see, Ruby is a heart child. If you don't know what that means, you're very lucky. Ruby was born with a cardiac malformation. I could get very technical here, and either tell you the name of the condition, which is pretty long, or I could describe it in detail. But honestly, none of that makes much sense to most people, it's just so many words. So, I'll just say Ruby has had several operations, including open-heart surgery when she was eight-months old, and she is pacemaker-dependent.

We're really lucky that Ruby gets to have a fairly normal childhood. She does gym class at school, she has swim lessons, she's taken figure skating lessons, and even competed at the Montreal Games one year. Most of the time, I don't see her in terms of her heart condition. She's just a normal little girl.

It wasn't always like that. When Ruby was born, we were told that she had a 50 per cent chance of surviving. During her first year, Ruby had a cardiology appointment every week, and we were never sure if that would be the week we'd be told she needed to go in for an operation. But we only had to live like that for a year. I know some families whose heart kids will need major operations every couple of years for the rest of their lives. All we have to worry about at this point is having Ruby's pacemaker replaced when it starts to wear out. As I said, we are very lucky.

And so, several times a year, Ruby and I go to the hospital, and step into our lives as a heart family. We arrive early, hand in her hospital card, say "hi" to the nurses and technicians, chat with other families whose kids also have pacemaker appointments, and we wait...and wait...and wait. Today, her appointment was an hour late, which wasn't so bad.

And then, after the appointment, we get to step back into normal life again. To celebrate, we have a hot fudge sundae, on a school day, even if it's almost lunch time.

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