“Did you look in the shoe basket?” I asked, and he looked at me, saying, “The shoe basket, the book basket, the hallway closet, although I don’t know how he could actually open that, under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom sink. I can’t think of any other place he could have possibly hidden the phone.” I had to admit that he had been thorough in his investigation.
“Can you think of any other places?” he asked, and again, I had to admit that I couldn’t.
At that moment, our primary suspect came stomping through the kitchen, holding the TV remote control to his ear and pretending it was a phone. Babbling in some elfish language, he seemed pretty happy with whomever was on the other line of this imaginary conversation. Then, without looking up at Jason or me, Sam marched over to the trash cabinet, opened it up, perfunctorily dumped the remote control inside, closed the door, and wobbled away humming “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
“Do you think that’s what happened to our phone?” I asked Jason.
“Could be,” he said, rubbing his jaw. “Could be.” Trash day was yesterday, and the phone had been missing for a week.
I watched Sam suspiciously as he picked up my cell phone from the coffee table. Just two weeks ago, he figured out how to unlock my phone and sent out his very first text message. It was basically the isolated letter “q” sent in about eight consecutive texts to a very understanding man in our English department.
Luckily, Sam had only succeeded in absconding with the home phone, not our cell phones. This was especially important this week since we had been waiting for a phone call from Sam’s cardiologist, Dr. Buckvold. I still feel shy about calling her “Shannon,” even though that’s how she introduces herself when she calls and how she signs her e-mails. She just seems like far too important of a person to be called by her first name.
We were waiting for her to call and let us know if Sam’s cold was going to be a major issue in his upcoming heart catheterization, which was now less than a week away. And Sam, to throw in a little extra drama, had been coughing up a storm...not really the best scenario for a one-and-a-half-year-old about to undergo general anesthesia for five hours and rely on a ventilator to breathe.
But after a hurried trip to Sam’s regular pediatrician the next day and an evening phone call from Dr. Buckvold the next night, I felt slightly reassured about Sam’s catheterization. Slightly. Basically, we all came to same conclusion that with flu and RSV season coming quickly upon us and Sam in daycare, this might be our best shot. As long as the anesthesiologist was game, the cath was still on for Monday, October 29 at 10 am.
Now, as I sit down at the kitchen table to type this, it’s the night before Sam’s cath. Jason is loading the dishwasher, I'm trying to put off packing up Sam’s books, toys, and pajamas for our hospital stay tomorrow, and I'm realizing that I have been out of touch with just about everyone. I didn’t update the blog for months. I forgot to tell most people in my department about Sam’s cath. I also forgot to tell most of my friends. I have neglected that lifeline between our crazy hypoplastic left-hearted world and the normal, double ventricle-hearted world.
And it’s not because Sam probably threw away our phone. It’s because I have had the pleasure of life away from Children’s Hospital for months and months now, and I almost forgot that we--all three of us--are patients there who are are lucky enough to get extended vacations into the real world. I almost forgot.
But the mother ship, through daily phone calls and detailed instructional letters on when Sam needs to start fasting, when we check in, and what we need to bring, is calling us home. It’s time to pack. It's time to go back. Most importantly, it’s time to reestablish our lifeline to the outside world.
So, if you are still listening, please stay tuned, and we will keep you updated on Sam’s progress tomorrow as he undergoes his second heart catheterization. We’re hoping they can open up his tiny left pulmonary artery. We’re hoping his heart function is okay. We’re hoping like crazy that he’s a good candidate for the third major open heart surgery (the Fontan), because it’s his best shot at a life. Mostly, we’re hoping that each time the doctor comes out to update us in the 3rd floor waiting room, where we do crosswords and hold our breath for five hours, that she gives us good news about the fate of our beautiful little singing, dancing, kiss-blowing phone thief.
N.B. If you're still wondering about the fate of the missing phone, by the way, I have some breaking news. Yesterday, when I slipped my right foot into my favorite gray boots, my toes hit something hard. Quickly pulling out, I was surprised to find that inner cave of my boot was glowing electric green. And there, of course, was the long-lost, left-for-dead phone, still holding onto the last of its battery charge.
Jason and I weren’t the only ones excited to find the phone. A few hours after putting the phone back on its charger, I walked into the living room to find Sam happily reunited with it. With a glowing face and heavy breaths, he kept punching in different combinations of numbers, then pausing to hear the outcome, like he was trying to open up some kind of connection to a world he knew was listening.
Footnote: Sorry for the lack of recent pictures. Sam seems to have the same predilection for the camera as he has for the phone, so it's nearly impossible to snap a photo before he grabs the lens. Most of my pictures come out like this: