The Talk

Men, recall the dating adventures of your life. Specifically those few weeks when you were just getting to know her and she was learning about you, when things were still awkward and both of you were on pins and needles trying not to do The Wrong Thing. Because The Wrong Thing would be just the event to make the other person shout AHHHH! before running off into the night, never to be seen again. We’ve all been there.

When I was in high school and college I used to conceal my heart problem until what I felt was “the right moment”. It was hard to judge exactly when the right moment was – things had be be past the Just Talking stage, but not quite to the Dating stage. Usually when we were seeing movies and going out to dinner as “Just Friends.” Then I would tell her about my heart problems.

Why? Because I had fallen into the trap of thinking that since I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t worthy. What could I offer anyone? And unfortunately there have been a couple of young ladies caught in that trap, also… as soon as we talked about my heart, the relationship ended.

This trap comes from the belief that anything less than perfection is a failure, and is unacceptable.  But the trap isn’t true… I do not know how or when it started, but somehow we have been convinced that the lesser citizens among us aren’t as important, or as useful. Their hopes and dreams don’t count.

For proof that this isn’t true, look no further than Susan Boyle. Susan recently appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, the show that spawned American Idol. Susan’s 47, slightly overweight, inarticulate, and not very attractive. The audience was laughing at her as she told the judges that she wanted to be a professional singer, and even the judges rolled their eyes and looked at her with dismay. Then the music started and Susan blew the walls down! (Click HERE to see Susan rock the house!)

Today, my heart comes up fairly quickly. As soon as the young lady asks what I do and I say I advocate for CHD Survivors, she’ll usually ask how I got involved with that. The answer is obvious.

If you are the parent of a Cardiac Kid, don’t let being unlucky in love get him or her down. You can’t walk away from life; you have to take it all, the ups and the downs. I often wonder how many turndowns were really because of my health, and how many I credited to my heart because my imagination was running away with me. Remind your Cardiac Kid that even though he/she may be physically weak, they’ve already been through a lot more than any of their classmates. They are strong in ways that most people can’t imagine, and they just have to keep being strong. You can’t win if you aren’t in the game.


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2 Responses to “The Talk”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Steve,

    When I was in high school I dated a guy with a heart problem. It wasn’t something he talked about, but he had a pacemaker. I remember listening to the mechanical sound of his heart and thinking it was cool.

    I find it extremely ironic that I would grow up with no other knowledge of CHD other than that old boyfriend, and then have two heart babies of my own. Now I think of Mike and wonder what CHD he had and wish I had taken more interest back then. He passed away in his sleep at the age of 22…

  2. Melanie Palmer Says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been checking out this site. I’m soaking up all of the info I can find on adults with a CHD. My husband Scott is currently in the hospital after receiving a heart transplant almost 3 months ago. He too was born with Tricuspid Atresia. It’s comforting to know that there are others out there that have survived and lived well. I certainly hope to continue to have a long life with my husband. Thanks for your site. We’re not alone!

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