Raising a Heart Warrior



In the book, I talk a lot about our youngest daughter and her permanent heart condition. I could probably write an entire book on this topic alone. Maybe someday I will. Probably more than necessary, I constantly try to convince my daughter that she should write a book herself. After all she knows best what it is like to have a ‘special’ heart. Perhaps some form of that idea will find its way out into the world … someday…

In the meantime, I have today.

Today we went to one of the numerous procedural appointments the we must attend. Like a party, we were invited to visit the hospital, at our earliest inconvenience. Today we had a blood draw.

Normally, a blood draw is one of the more simple of the medical tests that we endure. Normally, a blood draw is easy. But not for our daughter. No way. The blood draw is the one she hates the most.

There is something that bothers her about sitting still while allowing someone to take something from her. It tends to send her over the edge. Not to mention the needle, the tight elastic band, and the promise that it will only feel like a mosquito bite when everyone knows it so doesn’t. It’s all too much for her. It’s all too much for me.

I know that we both still have some residual trauma induced anxiety. It’s only natural for both of us. It’s only natural for anyone. We have spent way too much time in hospitals, in labs, and at doctor’s appointments. For the week leading up to whichever appointment is on the calendar, I usually have to fight the urge to curl up into a ball and hide. I would like to bury my head in the sand.

But I can’t.

So, I climb into the chair and I hold her on my lap just like I have always done. Except now she is so big that it’s hard to hold her. She almost sat in the chair all by herself today. Almost. But again, I do what she needs most. I sit in the chair with her. I hold her close. I help her try to relax and I tell her over and over that it will be over soon. It’s only going to hurt for a moment.

Except, it’s only going to hurt for a moment for the rest of her life. Sigh.

No, it’s not easy. No, it’s not fun, but I wouldn’t trade any of it. Because it’s worth it. All of it.

What a sweet gift it is to be able to hold her. For as long as I can. For as long as she will let me. If she wants to invite me to sit in the chair and hold her while they take her blood, so be it. I am happy to comply.

Because I am honored to know and enjoy the spirit of this fighter. I am surprised every day by her resilience. I am humbled by her strength.

I am the mother of a Heart Warrior.


©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.



Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.

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