Elevator Sprints! (Cardiac Kids Part 2)


The independent streak that Cardiac Kids have can pop up at the worst possible times. I was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital, in the old Jefferson Tower. And another patient and I had just invented a new sport.

Elevator Sprints!

Elevator Sprints are just too cool. The hard part was getting past the nurses station to the elevators, but once we had, we were ready to go. We’d call both elevators to the floor and then ride down to the ground level. Once there, we’d say “One two three GO!” and jump on the elevator, hit the 16 button, and head for the top floor! The elevator actually seemed to speed up as it climbed, too, and that made this 11 year old boy really happy.

We could get away with this game because this was the late ’70’s, when hospitals were more 9 to 5 (or 9 to 8:30) operations. Things seemed to slow down greatly after the dinner trays were collected, and really shut down after visiting hours ended. Certainly, the hospital was open for business, but if you weren’t in an area where most of the patients were critical, things really did seem to quieten down for the night.

Once we hit the 16th floor, the first one off the elevator won. Thankfully there was never anyone with a cup of hot coffee waiting for the elevator to arrive, because I probably would have run him over.

On about the third night of Elevator Sprints, my elevator slowed to a stop and a doctor got on.

One of my doctors.

My Cardiologist.

I was busted!

Needless to say, he casually mentioned our meeting to my parents the next day. My father sat me down and said “Son, apparently you don’t understand the seriousness of this situation.” I’m lying… I can’t tell you what he really said! He was pretty shocked, because here I was at UAB for Heart Surgery and I’m running up and down the elevators!

I was humiliated, but now it is a funny “Kids, what can you say?” story. Even though I was there for surgery, I didn’t feel bad. Didn’t feel sick in the least. So why was I cooped up in this hospital? The world is leaving me behind, you only get to be 11 once!

Heart Moms and Dads, this is something that you may need to have a talk with your Cardiac Kid about. We’re not normal… but we’re so adaptable, we adjust easily. It’s not long before we’re used to our “new normal” and like all children, we want to push the envelope. See just how far we can go. And sometimes, that’s not a such a bright idea.

Cardiac Kids need to learn to think before we do. Yes, it looks like fun, and it probably is fun, but it might be in our best interests to NOT try to jump the bike one foot further than Earl can. Or – inditing myself again – ride the roller coaster at the beachfront amusement park. But it is a balancing act: you do need to teach us to watch out for ourselves more than the average kid does, don’t hover. We need to be independent, and to learn where our limits are all on our own. It’s a fine line, protecting us from ourselves without making us so timid that we spend the rest of our lives saying “I can’t.” We’re trusting you to teach us to be cautious, but to also do what we can and enjoy our lives.

And you probably won’t know how good a job you’ve done. There will times when sanity rules and we do the right thing for ourselves, and you know nothing about it. We may not even realize it ourselves until years later. That’s just life.

I never ratted on my partner in crime, and he got away scot-free! I really need to look him up; I haven’t been on an Elevator Sprint since then!

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Elevator Sprints! (Cardiac Kids Part 2)”

  1. Treehousedweller Says:

    Wow – I feel like I am reading my own autobiography!! I am 39 in October – can’t believe I’m thinking of planning a 40th (21 scared me, 30 blew me away!!). I want to walk the Able Tasman track (top of the South Island of New Zealand) to celebrate my 40th. BTW I was born with tricuspid atresia, first surgery was to remove a cyst on my brain at age 7 – then straight after that Sir Brian Boyes preformed the Fontan on my heart. Thought I probably wouldn’t make it through my next surgery at 22yrs, but did scrape through my surgery at 28yrs. Fitted with a pacemaker at the same time (that works 100% of the time), I recently had it replaced 10yrs on. Stubborn – you bet!! Check out my life (I almost never mention my heart) on http://www.treehousedwellers.blogspot.com or any of my other blogs that I list on there too. Great site – courage to you both for the blog, and for your own personal journey!! Beverly

  2. These people are gonna kill me! « Adventures of a Funky Heart! Says:

    […] being informed that Elevator Sprints was a game that I didn’t need to be playing – even if I was one of the Co-creators – I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s