Monday, February 02, 2009

Blog Interview...

A week or so ago, I was offered a chance to participate in The Blogger Interview, and took the challenge laid down by Steve (the awesome co-blogger at The CHD Blog) on Adventures of a Funky Heart. Now it's my turn to paste here and offer someone else the chance to get in on the fun! This one is heavy on the CHD side... I'm gearing up for CHD Awareness week (Feb 7-14!). Your interview could be about anything...!

The rules: The interview(er) (me) gets to ask you five questions. You answer, I post it on my blog. You also post on your blog, FaceBook or wherever, and become the interviewee for another friend/colleague. Who wants an interview? I can do some creative questioning!! ;)

Were you a blogger before you created the CHD Blog?

Yes, I have a personal blog, Herding Cats, that I created immediately after my daughter was diagnosed with a CHD. The hospital I was at didn’t tell me about Caring Bridge or CarePages, so I winged it - I created a blog to keep family and friends informed. It was a great way to vent, to organize my thoughts and to share news without having to repeat myself. Since then, it’s grown into a sounding board and a way to stay in touch with friends and family outside my immediate area. I started and just can’t stop! It’s the cheapest form of therapy I’ve found to date.

The CHD Blog was born last year on a whim. I realized only a couple of weeks before February that there was a CHD awareness week. I wanted to do something. When my daughter was diagnosed, I felt alone in a vast sea… even the Internet couldn’t provide the answers I craved. The connections I wanted. Or a quick resource to get the information I needed. I thought that perhaps a portal could be created that was not affiliated with any organization, completely (or mostly) unbiased and for the general public’s consumption. That’s why the CHD Blog was born.

What have you learned from other Heart Moms and Dads?

I’ve learned how to advocate for my child. Coming into the world of acute care for the first time, I still held the ancient belief that the medical community knew much more than I did. While they do know more about specific diseases, organs, etc., they do not know my children. Only I can truly advocate for their needs.

I’ve also gained a support network I never knew I needed. I’m not much one for “support groups.” I don’t like group activities per se. Yet I have met incredible men and women both virtually and in person that have walked down similar paths. It’s hard to relate all of your feelings about “that” road we parents (or you patients) have been down. I didn’t even realize many of the emotions I harbored. Having friends that have walked similar paths in life really does make a difference.

What’s a routine day around your house like?

Honestly? Loosely organized chaos. I own a Montessori preschool, as well as an association management firm. I manage two full time clients (their accounting, marketing, public relations, event planning, administration, etc., etc.). I am married, have two daughters (six and two), two dogs, two guinea pigs and somewhere around 30 fish to care for. My day starts somewhere around 5:30 and ends somewhere around 1-ish. I spend some time in the preschool, a lot of time behind the computer or phone working with scientists and business professionals around the world, try to make sure to have some one-on-one time with my girls, and try to cram some volunteer work (usually CHD related) into the few remaining hours of my day.

Describe the moment that your doctor told you that your daughter had a heart defect?

It was a moment of pure, unadulterated shock. We knew something was wrong, but had thought it was minor at best. As the doctor drew a crude drawing of a heart on a napkin, his hand was shaking. He would not look me in the eye as he discussed her emergency intubation, that she needed to be medivaced out immediately, that surgery was her only option, and it was dire that intervention happened immediately. Until that moment, I had never even fathomed the possibility of a heart defect. I didn’t even know what CHD was.

In that moment, I asked stupid questions. One of the first, which I still cringe at, was if she would have open heart surgery, and if there would be a scar. Well, yes, dummy. What a stupidly naive question, so irrelevant to the life and death situation we were in. But I couldn’t connect the dots. I’d just had my daughter a few hours before, only 7 minutes after flying through the ER doors. And now they were telling me she was struggling for her life. I hadn’t had time to hold her. I hadn’t even really seen her. It was all just too much to take in.

After a long night of trying to wrap my mind around the situation and my reaction, I decided to change immediately how I was dealing with the trauma. I refused to let myself go down that “shocked” road again. My mode of operation since has been to push all emotions aside and to get analytical and realistic when faced with life-death situations. Of course, there are a lot of drawbacks to ignoring emotions and refusing to allow shock to take over - it only gives them opportunity to fester and grow, and it’s often ugly to deal with their neglected mutations after the emergency has passed. But it has helped me to become a better advocate in traumatic situations. Some people comment on this being a strength, but in fact it is not. It’s a total weakness - I admire other parents and patients that can cope with the emotional aspects of medical trauma while it is in progress.

What is your wish for your daughter?

That technology is always ahead of her in terms of treatment and her medical needs. That she lives a full and happy life. And that she never doubts for a second how much I love her. (Both of them!)

1 comment:

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