So I’ve had the surprisingly enjoyable task of explaining the whole “Where Was Mrs. D” thing to my students. I basically told them 5 things:
1. I was really sick and I didn’t know it. Always tell your parents and go to the doctor when you feel like you can’t breathe right.
2. My heart doesn’t pump very well right now. (My phrase for this is “wussy heart syndrome”. They eat that up.) It might get better and it might not, but either way there’s no reason to think I won’t be ok. I am tough.
3. I have to take medicines that will hopefully help my heart get stronger. But, they make me very tired sometimes, and dizzy. If anyone ever faints, we do NOT touch them. We find the nearest adult to help. This is not likely to happen to me at all, so relax.
4. I have to wear a special undershirt that has little circle things in it to check how my heart beats, day and night. It’s connected by a wire to this box I’m wearing like a purse. If my heart stops pumping right (“wusses out”), the special shirt will zap me with electricity so my heart will work again. The black box might ‘ding’ sometimes when the shirt isn’t working right. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
5. This is not something that is likely to happen to you, or anybody else you love.
This has been a nice time to sit down and just talk to my 500+ kiddos. Their concern has been real and their questions and responses have been a little too real.
But hey, if you can’t laugh at cardiomyopathy, what can you laugh at, right?
So these are questions and responses I have gotten from my 5 – 11 year old students when I explain the above list to them. I started writing them down to share, because I love these little nutjobs. My responses are italicized.
“Will your heart tell you when it’s fixed?” No, they will take pictures again, but that would be cool.
“Do they let you keep the pictures?” I doubt it but if it’s good I’ll frame it.
“My grandpop had a heart attack because he ate too much red food. Did you do that?” You mean did I eat too much red meat? No, I – “No! Meat is brown.”
“Did it hurt when you died?” Um…No. I’m good.
“Will it hurt if it zaps you?” No. I would have probably fainted by then. “But it will zap us if we’re touching you?” Possibly, but you’re not going to touch me or anyone who has fainted, you just get an adult. “Will it reach out and like lightening, and zap us?” NO. You’re picturing Return of the Jedi.
“Can you use the box to save somebody else’s life? Like the school’s one? [Defibrillator]” Yes, I’m going to be the new super hero, Defibrillator Woman. Zap zap. Just kidding. But cool question.
“What are you gonna do if you can’t go swimming in the summer!?!?!?!” I will most likely be done wearing this, one way or another, by summer. Hopefully. Otherwise, I will cry.
“Um…it [the box] blinked red. Are you OK?” That just means it’s on. I’m good.
“What would happen if ALL the adults in the school fainted at the same time?” I’d say we would leave (extremely unlikely, quiet student) in charge.
“So, like, you can’t take it off? Are you not gonna shower?! For months?!!” Um… I take it off to shower. EW.
“What happens if you faint in the shower with the shirt thing off?” Well this is getting personal. It’s not likely that I’ll faint at all. But I guess then it would turn into taking a bath.
“What happens if you faint when you’re going to the bathroom?” Well that would be bad, but wouldn’t I have worse problems, at the time?
“What happens if you drop it [the monitor box] in the toilet?” Thanks, now I’m going to worry about that, too.
BUT the winner is:
“Did you know that the hospital is where they take babies out of your tush?” Yes. Yes I did.