A Day -- and a Lesson -- to Remember

When I was a kid, I was frequently called Bossy — this was before we understood those traits to be Leadership Skills. In addition to having early Leadership Skills, I was never very good at taking “no” for an answer.

I was taught by nuns — “normal” people do not scare me.

I was taught by nuns — “normal” people do not scare me.

Pushy. Persistent. Dogged. Call it what you want but after today you won’t hear me apologizing for any of it.

Early this morning I sent Part Two of the “Just in Case” emails to my Perfect Sister. Part Two was harder than Part One because I had to decide about the dogs. My daughter will be thrilled to know that I wanted Claire to go to her.

And then, dressed in my new Lucky Sweatshirt and Lucky Donut Socks, we headed into Missoula.

Don’t let the smile fool you! I took this photo — just in case — to send to the kids, who knew nothing about what was going on.

Don’t let the smile fool you! I took this photo — just in case — to send to the kids, who knew nothing about what was going on.

Two days ago my Provider informed me that the cardiac test (a stress echocardiogram) we did last week was abnormal and there was concern about a blockage. They promptly scheduled this charming adventure…


I was stunned. Seriously stunned.

Twice yesterday I talked to staff at the clinic — could this be a mistake?

Oh no, I was reassured. They are very careful not to mix things up.

Suddenly, all my hopes and plans and wishes for the future were popping like soap bubbles in front of me. I would not get to see my grandchildren grow up. My heart was broken — literally, it would seem.

I did what I do — I wrote. Worried that I would forget a question or to say something important, I prepared two-pages for my providers; it started like this:

“First, I want to be really sure that there is not any chance of a mix-up in the stress echo test results. This is not simple denial or wishful thinking... “ And I went on to explain the reasons I was concerned there had been a mistake.

I handed that document over this morning and changed into the gown, fighting back the tears.

Me in gown.jpg

A tech made the mistake of scoffing at my request to have buffered lidocaine before the IV went in — Dear Husband shifted uneasily, knowing that shit was about to get real in a big fat hurry. I don’t take condescending attitudes from health care providers well — does that surprise you?

But then the happy music started playing as Nurse Kate came in. She had read my missive and paid attention. That, my dear friends, is how it is done. She paid attention.

Suddenly, they were all watching the rerun of my test. Then they were comparing it to one done five years ago.

And that is how they realized there had been a mistake on the report — numbers had been mixed up. My heart is FINE.

I kid you not — I almost had an invasive heart procedure because of a TYPO. I spent the past two days in misery because an imperfect human being made a mistake.

None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. I am not at all angry or upset. Instead, I welcome the opportunity to extend Grace, knowing well I am often in need of that very gift myself. And I am giddy with relief that I am OKAY.

But the real lesson in all this is about being pushy, persistent, dogged — and yes, bossy. I am glad I learned those lessons early in life — they served me well today.

Me and Nora close.jpg