The battle is joined!

I flip out my cell phone and text a message to a friend living in Los Angeles. I write an e-mail to another friend: he’s living in Arkansas, but he drives a big rig. I have no idea where he is, but he’ll read my e-mail on his laptop. I post on this blog and I receive comments from Canada, Great Britain, and even Australia.  Instant, worldwide communication is a wonderful thing.

I was born on a Tuesday, the doctors didn’t detect my heart defect until Friday. There was no resource except the local library, and they had practically nothing.

No other survivors in the area. No support groups. No internet.

Every answer the doctors gave began with the words “The books say…” We didn’t have those books, and probably couldn’t understand them if we did.

No Echos… No MRI.

As my father has said, “We were grasping at straws.”

How in the world did parents raise a sick kid in the bad old days? Especially when there was next to nothing known about the illness? When it feels like you are just struggling in the dark, trying to find the light switch in a room that you have never been in before?

One of the few answers available is “The best you can,” but that is a throwaway answer. A platitude. Like the TV shows when the cop tells someone “I’m sorry for your loss.” – you know he probably doesn’t mean it, or isn’t truly sorry, but that is what is required of him. So he spits it out and everyone knows it is a false sentiment.

Our personal philosophy is that we live to fight another day. In fact, that has actually been said before: Albert Pacifico looked my father in the eye and told him I was bleeding profusely in the operating room. It was possible to continue the operation, but the outcome was liable to be bad. What would you have me to do? And my father told him to stop operating and get out the best he could. We’d live to fight another day.

The actual quote is “He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day.” That implies weakness… the inability or the unwillingness to stand and fight. But really, it means that we pick the battlefield and the weapon. At that time – 1988 – daddy told the surgeon to get out, we’d fight this battle on our own terms. Pacifico probably thought there was no battle left to be fought: You can’t open his chest without massive bleeding, therefore no more surgeries. Now you can do some operative procedures without opening the chest… and more are coming.

We choose the battlefield and we choose the weapons. I always choose a major medical center and a team of exceptional, never say quit cardiologists. Because when I fight, I refuse to fight fair!

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One Response to “The battle is joined!”

  1. carolyn compton Says:


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