God bless cataracts!

Something about turning thirty-nine today makes me wish I could skip it and head straight to forty. Maybe because when I say “I’m thirty-nine,” I feel like people think I’m lying.

Not that I’ve ever cared what anybody else thinks, but I feel like I can actually hear the “Sure you are, Honey,” that flits through their minds and then I’m left feeling annoyed with what went unsaid.

I’m telepathic like that, you know.

However, I wish my telepathy had helped me out a little yesterday evening because I couldn’t manage to hide my disappointment that Kevin bought me this really great set of knives he wanted for my birthday.


Listen, Guys, it’s really, really dangerous to get your wives anything for the kitchen unless she specifically asks for something. At that point, take notes on the exact thing that was mentioned and don’t veer off path–unless it’s to Tiffany’s.

Liam texted me last night, “Hey, Mama! We have a surprise for you,” as I was on my way home from work.

After (almost) fourteen years of marriage, I’m way beyond playing games about what I want for my birthday/anniversary/Christmas. I totally spell it out. This year, I told Kevin, “You can combine all three and get me a new set of pots and pans. Nice ones. Because the Calphalon set that’s left over from your first marriage is flaking bits of black into all of our food. It’s disgusting.”

“Sounds good,” he said. “You know what else would be good is a really nice set of knives.”

“Knives can wait. The cookware is on life support. The Miracle Blades I bought for 39.99 fifteen years ago at JC Penney’s can live to see another year at least.”

I also told him that I wanted a dutch oven.

(Quit laughing! A real one. Not the kind where you stick my head under the covers and fart. That kind will get you an open wound courtesy of my new knives.)

I have about a hundred recipes I want to try that all require a dutch oven. They scream deliciousness. I figured the pots and pans thing was a win-win for our whole family. So now you understand my disappointment about getting knives for my birthday.

(Not that this requires explaining to any woman who’s not brain dead.)

Kevin said, “I thought you’d be happier. They’re really nice knives.”

Happy? I dug deep, really deep, and I have to say that I couldn’t find any happy. Admittedly, my first thought upon seeing the knives is I thought it was a joke. (Does that count as happy?) When I realized it wasn’t a joke, it confirmed something I’ve suspected about my husband all along. He has a death wish. Or maybe he was being a dear and supplying me with some much-needed blog material.

Kevin said, “Don’t I get a hug?”

I grabbed one of my new knives out of the block and held it blade out by my stomach and said, “Come here, big boy.”

He wasn’t amused, but I felt a bit of my happy come back.

Colman and I spent all day Monday and Tuesday at Texas Children’s Hospital.  Colman had to have a CT with dye contrast and an abdominal ultrasound. He also volunteered to be part of a research study that deals with the effects of a Fontan circulation on the liver. We were supposed to stay the night in the hospital, but we were released after a blood test showed his kidneys were functioning well and getting rid of the dye. (Thank goodness!)

The bummer about not spending the night in the hospital was that our little hotel that we stay in by the medical center was full, so I was left scrambling looking for something else that was close because we had a 7:30 a.m. appointment on Tuesday morning for an echo with clinic to follow. Mom and Dad had come up from Victoria to spend the day with Colman and me at the hospital and Dad booked us a room at the Marriott with his free reward night.

(Thanks again, Dad!)

Clinic appointment went okay. They had the results of the CT and Colman’s lungs looked great. No signs of plastic bronchitis, which is a huge relief to me. Colman’s heart and leak in the tricuspid valve looked about the same. They’re no better. One thing the doctor did notice was that his pulmonary arteries looked bigger, which was worrisome to him because it makes him think that maybe the numbers from the heart cath were wrong and that Colman’s pulmonary pressures are actually a lot higher than what they originally thought. Colman’s last heart cath was in March. I find it hard to believe that the cath numbers were wrong, although maybe Colman’s pulmonary pressures are starting to trend back up over time, which he thought was plausible as well.

The doctor told me that, architecturally, Colman’s lungs look really good from a transplant perspective. He did notice a weird spot on his liver, although he didn’t think they needed to “go in after it.” Ugh. He said it was probably some sort of fat patch or benign lesion.

He asked Colman how he’d been feeling and Colman told him, “I feel like an old man.”

That breaks my heart.

I told the doctor that it’s tough because I don’t want to lie and say that Colman’s miserable. He’s not. He’s a happy kid. But to say everything is great is not the complete truth. He wants to play tennis and we’ve had lots of tears this year about why he can’t play. He wants to do the same things that his friends are doing. He wants to play in PE. He wants to go on a class field trip and go on the extra fifteen minute hike his teacher suggests without it wiping him out for the next two days in a row. He’s nine. He wants to do what he wants to do.

Then the doctor mentioned Colman’s collateral vessels. Collateral vessels are vessels that are not supposed to be there. Because Colman is in a constant state of cyanosis, his body is growing extra vessels between his heart and his lungs to try to supply his body with the oxygen it so desperately needs. This is the second time a doctor has mentioned his collateral vessels and used the word “impressive” to describe them. I may have mentioned this before, but based on my experience, when a doctor says “impressive,” it’s not a good thing. Dr. Liou mentioned Colman’s impressive collaterals when she did his heart cath back in March. Dr. Jeewa mentioned them again on Tuesday.

To be honest, I hadn’t really given the collaterals much thought. I asked Dr. Liou if she would try to coil some of them in an attempt to raise Colman’s oxygen saturations, but she said there were too many. Colman’s body has grown hundreds, if not thousands. She’d be in there coiling collaterals for days and they’d just grow back. Dr. Jeewa said that the collaterals are a huge concern when talking about heart transplant in Colman’s case because the surgeons are going to have a major problem on their hands trying to control his bleeding. There’s bypass for the main vessels, but there’s nothing for the collaterals and they’re going to bleed like crazy.

In summation, I have a very medically complex and complicated little boy and the heart failure team is going to conference about what we should do moving forward. Right now, we’re “limping along,” which are Dr. Jeewa’s words, and we’re supposed to go back February 18 for another appointment.

Colman took all of the appointments in stride even though he had to have blood drawn three times because one of the samples coagulated on the way to the lab and then there was a miscommunication on the second draw.

So I’ve had a hell of a week trying to process this mixed bag of news about Colman. Then I was talking to an elderly lady–she had to be pushing eighty–the other day, who asked, “Excuse me. Are you a teacher?”

“Oh, God, no. I’m a court reporter.”

“You’re kidding,” she said. “I almost finished court reporting school in Abilene, but then I got married. I kind of realized that’s more of a career than just a job like I’d originally thought. How long have you been reporting?”

“Almost nineteen years,” I said.

“Wow! That’s crazy. You don’t look like you could have been doing that for nineteen years. You don’t have any stress in your face.”

God bless cataracts! I said, “Thank you.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her about my three little boys, Colman’s heart problems, my crazy husband or my Golden Retriever who’s suffering from some sort of flesh-eating disease. (Poor Buster!)

I tell you what I am looking forward to, though. I can’t wait to see the look on Kevin’s face when he opens his Christmas presents this year. The set of Le Creuset cookware and diamond earrings are going to be just the thing for him. He’s going to be so…excited.


10 thoughts on “God bless cataracts!

  1. Happy Birthday Heather!! I loved the blog!! On my first birthday as a newly wed, Tony bought me golf clubs when I was really hoping for cowboy boots – not as bad as knives, I know, but still – I used the clubs once (at the golf resort he took me to for that same birthday!)

  2. Heather, you never fail to make me smile!!! Be sure to post pics of Kevin with his gifts!!! 😉 Keeping you and your family in my prayers! Happy Birthday!

  3. I’ve often thought it’s a blessing as we age we can’t see what’s happening in the mirror.It would be too depressing. Another one of God’s little plans. However, you look great, and God bless you! You are amazing and hilarious!

    Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2013 20:18:06 +0000 To: dbuferd@hotmail.com

  4. Poor Colman. He is such a brave little boy! Be sure you get those gifts for Kevin!! I LOVE IT! I can’t believe he got a set of knives for your birthday!

  5. Pingback: November has been all about fun | Crazy Heart Mama

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