I ran by Books A Million Friday afternoon after work to pick up a few more books for "Books for Charley". As I waited in line to check out, I noticed that the cashier had a thin, pale scar on her chest. Don't get me wrong, I do not go around looking at people's chests all the time. But for some reason, it caught my attention.
She remarked about one of the children's books I was buying about how she liked the books that you can touch and feel. As she was talking I was trying to decide if it was appropriate or not for me to ask her about her scar. So I nervously blurted out something to the effect of "I know this is a personal/strange question, but did you have heart surgery as a child?"
She could have easily looked at me and said "that is none of your business" or give me a blank look and ignore me. But instead, she proudly looked at me and said "Yes! I was born with Tricuspid Atresia and did not have a Tricuspid valve. I only have half of my heart that works." I asked if she still only had 1/2 of her heart working and she replied yes. I told her our daughter had Tetralogy of Fallot and had open heart surgery last year. Then, all I could muster out was "wow, you truly are an inspiration to me."
At this point the people behind me were getting anxious to check out and somewhat pushed me out of the way. I didn't get a chance to talk to her anymore. I really wanted to tell her about Claire, ask her about her experiences, and also tell her the reason I was buying those children's books. That they were going to other heart babies and they were being collected in memory of another heart baby that was born with only 1/2 a heart working.
But I didn't get that chance. I left to pick Claire up from my parents' house and then decided I would take Claire back by the book store so she could meet this girl. I know Claire does not understand what meeting someone is, but it meant something to me. I have met lots of heart babies, but not hardly any heart baby teenagers/adults. And to be honest, even though Claire has had a great outcome from her repair and has been given excellent prognoses of a long, healthy life, you can't tell me as a heart mom that it is not in the back of your mind "what if?" And really, it's sometimes hard to be able to see the future and think that Claire will someday be a teenager/young adult working at her job and someone may come up and notice her scar and ask her about it. I want Claire to be just as proud and confident as this girl was today.
So Claire and I rode back over to the bookstore the whole time thinking this girl would probably think I am some psycho stalker lady. We walked all over the store and she was no where to be found. I finally asked a guy working there if he knew if she was still there. He checked and she had left for her break and would be back in about 20 minutes or so. We could have shopped and waited, but Claire didn't have any shoes on and wanted to get down really bad. So I figured we would stop by another time. Maybe we will run into her again.
So if any of you know Leah, tell her that I would love for Claire to meet her. But please also tell her I am not a crazy stalker lady. Thanks!
I just hope she does not think I am some lunatic.
The Scott Family
PS - Claire goes to Duke Wednesday for a cardiology check up. Please pray for a healthy heart and a good appointment!