The Scare

November 30, 2012
By Anonymous

“Bend your fingers back as far as you can. Stretch your arms out like a bird. Open your mouth.” This is the best doctor’s appointment ever. I had not received any shots, and in my ten-year-old mind, that constituted a successful visit
The Italian side of my family hadn’t seen anybody who was as skinny as me. I would get the “Andrew, eat more, you look sickly” comment every time I went to my grandma’s house, but it didn’t bother me. Later, I found out why everybody was a little uneasy about a skinny tall kid in the family again.
After the “pet human tests” at the doctor, I was stuck in another lobby, but I was happy. In my ten-year-old mind, all that mattered was that they had computers that I could play games on, a forbidden act at my house. They then called my name, and the doctor brought me into a room with a TV in it. He told me it wouldn’t hurt a bit, and for once, that was actually true.
I got to lay there and watch a movie while they rubbed my chest with a massager. It did not hurt, and was actually fairly enjoyable. This test concluded my testing, and I got to go home. My parents were full of praise for me, and I had no idea why.
It took six years for me to fully understand what the tests were for. They were tests to see if I had Marfan syndrome, a disease that indicates a fatal heart defect. And the worst part? I fit the characteristics.
Marfan syndrome is in the family. Two of my father’s cousins died in their twenties from Marfan syndrome. They were tall, skinny, and flexible . . . like me. We are the only members of the family to break six feet. The odds were against me.
Originally, my parents were able to ease me by telling me the tests were negative. But they reignited the worry sophomore year when they said they wanted to get me tested again. This time around, I was fully aware of what was going on and of the possible consequences of the results. I wanted to be the same ignorant ten-year-old I was for the first tests.
Back when I first was administered the tests, time in the waiting room went by rapidly. But now, it was the opposite. Thankfully, our worry was for nothing, as the test came back negative. Still, seeing cardiologists and having echocardiograms had an effect on me. Prior to this experience, nothing bad had happened in my life, and as a result, I took life for granted.
This experience brought my family and I closer together. They were there supporting me throughout the process, and they were the only people who knew what I was going through. I realized how fragile life is, so now I try to make the most of my days.

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