You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!

If you have a blog, you watch your stats page like a hawk. It’s natural to want to get as many “hits” as you can, you like to think that someone is interested in what you have to say. I also check to see where my visitors are coming from, and where they go when they leave Funky Heart. You can’t always tell, but if they head to a link on your page, it’s recorded. It’s good to see that people are visiting your blog friends (Maybe the visitor is not associated with the CHD family and he’s learning about us) or clicking a link in one of your posts. That’s proof that people are interested enough to look at the background material you’re giving them.

My stats page also tracks the search phrases that people used to get here. Example, if someone types “Heart Defect” into Google and then clicks on a link that brings them here, that’s in my list. It gives me an idea of what people are looking for when they drop in. One of the search phrases used yesterday was “Dumb questions people ask chd patients.” Whomever that is, I hope they come back today because *giggle* I’ve heard a few!

I don’t know what it is, but people seem just seem to be wired to ask the wrong question at the wrong time. I’ve done it myself, had the dumb question asked of me, and been nearby when someone else stuck their foot in their mouth. It’s an epidemic, and we’re all sick!

If you have a Heart Defect, the big question when you are young always seems to be “How did your lips get so blue?” Rather than explain Cyanosis to them – and when you are young, you’re not 100% sure yourself – you just give a throwaway answer. People heard all about my love of grape popsicles and grape bubblegum. And honestly, I think it’s a defensive mechanism: when you’re a kid on the playground, “different” isn’t always good. Kids don’t come with a thick skin, it’s got to be built up, and sometimes it’s just easier to avoid the issue.

Important Side Note: Heart Mom, don’t turn into helicopter mom, hovering over your Cardiac Kid 24/7. They have to learn how to deal with adversity, and the first (and harshest) lessons are usually learned when small children interact. Let your Cardiac Kid function in the real world, they’ll develop the social skills needed to deal with life.

As I hit my teen years, I would quite often give the craziest answer that I could think of! If you do it with a straight face and be completely serious, people will almost always believe you. I once told someone that I had a blue tinge to my skin because I had been dumping 30 pounds of Grape Kool-Aid into the school swimming pool as an April Fool’s Day joke when slipped and fell in! The guy who asked attended the same school I did and he knew we didn’t have a pool… but he believed me anyway!

The questions change as you get older. I’ve told someone that I have a Congenital Heart Defect and then have them ask “And how long has that been going on?” Ummm… all of my life?

Someone will see me when I’m changing shirts and they’ll exclaim, “Man, do you know you have a chest full of scars?” Have mercy! Those weren’t there last night!

Or try this one: Me: “I’ve had three operations on my heart.”

Other person: “And you survived?”

Of course, my sarcastic side wanted me to answer “No.” But I’ve learned better. A “dumb question” isn’t dumb, it’s really a sign that the person doesn’t know much about Congenital Heart Defects. So rather than “mouth off”, I’ve learned to do my best to use that “dumb question” as a chance to teach the questioner about living with a bad heart… and how all in all, we’re pretty normal.

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2 Responses to “You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!”

  1. Lauren Says:

    I must say I agree with you on this post whole heartedly and I don’t even have a whole heart. Yes, those dumb questions from the ill informed or people with no CHD knowledge can get weird and I do, like you, try not to be to sarcastic or anything though sometimes I just can’t help myself. Hope you have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving, Steve!

    ~Lauren (21yr. old with Tricuspid Atresia)
    ACHA member
    Carepage: hopelovefaith

  2. carolyn compton Says:

    questions people asked when my boy twins were less than a year old:

    1. asked of clarence, my heart baby: “Is that one a girl?”
    2. “did you have them close together?” (two minutes?)
    3. “Who is the dominant one?” ( they are babies who just poo, and drink. dominance?)

    these were asked of me usually at least every week for about 7 months.

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