Friday, May 11, 2012

Colin was a rock star today

I find unexpected moments to be proud of my children. An insightful comment, a surprise gesture, a challenging question – all can trigger silent pride.

Today, it was a trip to the doctor.

Colin went to see a pediatric cardiologist because another doctor detected a heart murmur during a recent exam. We've been told heart murmurs are relatively common in children, but there was some anxiety nonetheless.

Colin was a rock star.

We spent nearly two hours in the office. Three doctors listened to his heart, silently moving the stethoscope over his bare skin. They stuck eight or more sensors to his chest, stomach and legs for a complete EKG. They put him through a 15-minute echocardiogram, asking him to lie on his back with blue jelly smeared on his chest while a technician watched his little heart beat, beat, beat.

My pride swelled during the echocardiogram. I'll never forget the image of his little body, suddenly looking so long from head to toe, stretched on that table.

Colin was wearing gray corduroy pants, with gray socks. His shoes were off. So was his shirt.

His tiny, bare chest showed the scars of his young life – the one-inch slice where a G-tube once protruded; the strange, purple-blue mark that's been there since birth; the outie belly button that guarantees he will never be a swimsuit model. Lying on his back, still as can be, he quietly looked around the room as the woman slowly circled his torso with the magic wand. For a full 15 minutes, he did everything she asked without a whimper. He sat up. He tilted his head back. He straightened his legs. He lay back down.

Colin has always amazed us. This kid spent nearly three months in intensive care. He went under full anesthesia half a dozen times. He had a double hernia repair. He had a G-tube. He had supplemental oxygen, a helmet, full leg casts, a bar between his feet, a walker, ear tubes, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Now he has a heart murmur.

All those trips to doctors, all those procedures, all those pokes, pricks and prods, all have toughened him up. All prepared him for a two-hour trip to the cardiologist.

Colin was a rock star today. Once again, he made us proud.


  1. As the mom of a 17 year old boy who survived one of the most deadly syndromes (Pentalogy of Cantrell - roughly 15 children survived it), I read your story with tears in my eyes. We belong to a particularly horrible club - parents who have to watch our children be incredibly ill, cling to life, and suffer injustices to their little bodies that would make adults cringe. Their resilience is amazing but as I'm sure you know, they have times when they need a good, hard hug. And us parents often need a good, stiff drink!

    God bless your family and little Colin. Thank you for sharing his incredible story of strength.

    1. Tamara, thank you so much for the kind words, and thank you for sharing part of your own story – and honesty.