“Any of you guys up for a field trip?” my Adult Congenital Cardiologist, Dr. Mike McConnell, asked at the Atlanta Heart Walk.
Most of the patients said yes. “Where we going?” I asked.
“Oh, we’re just heading over to the Sibley tent,” McConnell said, pointing. “Just over there.”
Our “field trip” was a short one, only about 100 feet away. We walked up to a tent about an equal number of adults and children with a couple of people in STAFF shirts. The sign read
“Hi, guys!” Dr. McConnell said. “I brought some of our Adult CHD patients over. We want you to grow up to be just like these people.”
I met three or four of the Cardiac Kids (I didn’t have any of my Lucky Coins to give away! What a let down!) and one young man who was really shy. He wouldn’t speak to me, he held on to his mother’s neck and hid his face.
“Do you have a special heart?” I asked, trying to draw him out. Very reluctantly he nodded yes.
“I do too! You wanna see?” I unbuttoned the top two buttons of my shirt – not going any further on a 42 degree morning – and bent over to show him my scar.
“He’s got a scar just like yours!” his mom said. But my man was still close-mouthed, he wouldn’t tell me his name… and he lied about his age!!
“How old are you?” I asked. “Six.”
“You aren’t six!” His mom laughed. “Try again!”
“Two.” Mom rolled her eyes. “Noooooo! He’s four!” During our conversation I learned that the little fellow has Dextrocardia – his heart is “flipped” in the opposite direction. As I understood it, most of his other organs are flipped, also. But it was obvious that he was shy, and I was not someone he knew. So mom and I talked doctors for a moment and then I said goodbye.
I’m sorry I never got your name!