the doctor

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

this time of year, i spend
a great deal of time
with my thoughts.
some are memories
some are "what if's"
some are me trying to reconcile
the past with the present.

lately, i have been thinking
about the gifts that cooper
gave me  and how grateful
i am for those gifts.

the most unexpected gift is the
friendship that has slowly blossomed
with his cardiologist, dr m,
over the last 4 years.

i first met dr m in the waiting
room of nicu,  some 30 odd hours
after giving birth and learning
that my son was born with a heart defect.

she had spent more time
with our newborn son than his parents.
we were anxious to hold him in our arms
and spend time with him.

dr m understood this but 
knew there was much to explain.
she had a calm and confidence about
her that put me at ease, despite the fact
that my world was spinning out of control.

she was kind and compassionate.
she answered our questions,
even ones that in hindsight seem so trivial.
like will he be able to play hockey? or ski?

she wasnt condescending when
i realized for the first time
that "surgical repair" meant open heart surgery.
she explained in a very calm voice that one day
the girls would love the scar over his heart.

we left that meeting with a plan.
a plan that would be driven
by cooper's heart and
could change at any given moment.
we did not know the journey we were on,
or that our relationship would extend
beyond the walls of a medical office.

i remember many details about that day.
the shock, pain and sadness, but when i reflect
on the morning of december 18th,
 i am incredibly grateful.
grateful that dr m was cooper's doctor.

i will never forget her coming out to the
waiting room to give us an update.
i knew i needed to call my parents to
tell them to come to the hospital.
i could not do it, so i asked her to call.
ok, i basically threw my phone in her hands.

looking back i realize the enormity
of that request.
i was asking her to not only call my father,
the grandfather of her patient,
but to call a fellow doctor, as well.

i know how difficult this was 
and I will be forever grateful.

the heart team doesn't lose many patients.
they have a very high success rate. 
i know how heavy cooper's death
weighed on their hearts. 
i saw it in their tears, in their sadness
and in the way that they said goodbye to our sweet baby.

here we are four years later,
i will never understand why cooper died,
but, i am certain that he brought
dr m and i together .
some how he knew that we needed each
other, even if we didn't realize it yet.

i imagine that dr m doesn't get the opportunity
to know the families of her patients outside
of the hospital, especially the families 
of those children who don't make it.

it is my hope that watching ph, chace and i
dr m finds some peace knowing that despite
such heartbreak there can be healing, joy, and happiness.
as the daughter of a doctor who loses more patients
than he saves, I understand that doctors are human.
they are not god and even when everything goes 
as hoped, the outcome can be the one that no one wants.

for me, seeing dr m at yoga
makes me feel like all is right in the world.
having her on the mat next to me
brings me a peace and connection to cooper 
that i can not explain.

perhaps it is knowing that he brought us together
or that our lives are forever changed because of him

this I do know,
i am grateful that dr m was his dr
and more importantly that she is my friend. 

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