Cardiologist Visit

Recently we took Lydia in for a follow-up with the cardiologist to check on her ventricular septal defect (VSD), a tiny hole in her heart. It is nothing unusual, and was small enough that they thought it would close on its own. Our appointment went very well and the doctor confirmed that it had closed. Thank goodness. One less specialist on our list. But the appointment brought back a memory of our first visit, nearly two years ago. I wrote the memory below.


We took her to the cardiologist before the seizures, before the EEG, the MRI and the rest. It was after I had been harboring deep roots of worry that something something was wrong, but before we knew anything.

In the waiting room. Breath holding as the waiting room door opened and shut. We were called. Followed the nurse while clumsily gathering our bags, as if we hadn’t been expecting. Door opened, we went in.

A little girl on a chair greeted us as we entered. The biggest, most joyful smile. Hello. Loved her instantly. Down syndrome. Then noticed her mother standing to the side, head in hands, sobbing. Sobbing. Bad news.

I felt hot. Led into the exam room. What about my daughter? What is it about her? So scared.

Scan of her heart. Colorful ultrasound. A likeable physician. Minor VSD. A little hole. Not unusual. Should close on its own. Breathing comes back to us. Limp with relief. Shaking doctor’s hands thank you so much. We narrowly escaped something there. Something.

Oh but that poor mother. That poor little girl. So close I could have touched them. They were right there with a different story.

I didn’t know then what our story would be.

Come back after two years, makes sure the hole closed. Now her heart sounds perfect. Cross cardiologist off the list. But where the girl and her mother now? I wonder how the heart is of that smiling little girl.