Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Call

My 14-yr-old son has cystic fibrosis so one day from another we plan for the unexpected. A few days before Thanksgiving his oxygen level decreased dramatically. I have monitors and tanks at home so I could keep him stable, but I instinctively knew something different than usual was going on. So I called our pulmonologist Dr. H's office and started packing our hospital bags.


I glanced at my laptop, thinking I'd just leave it home because it was going to be a big day of checking in and tests, etc., but on an impulse I just grabbed it.


It was a long day of checking in and lab work, getting into a room, etc. That morning Dr. H pulled me aside to discuss putting in place an advanced directive for every following hospital visit. We'd spoken about it before so it wasn't a shock and I understood that it didn't mean my son was so bad that he was going to die right away, but it did mean that at his stage, anything can happen suddenly and if I happened not to be there, even if I had just stepped down to the cafeteria, our wishes on what actions are taken would be respected. It's basically like a menu. Would you like chest compressions administered? Oxygen? Intubation? Medicines for pain? Be wheeled to the ICU or remain in your familiar room? I won't share here what treatments I did choose or didn't because that is personal not only to our family, but my son as well.

Regardless that I knew it was coming, it was heart-wrenching to actually put into place. I had to go into a treatment room for about 10 minutes to sob alone before getting my composure back enough to go face my son.

That evening, I finally went out to the parking garage to get our bags from the minivan and just left them untouched in the room. Around 9 pm, emotionally exhausted, I glanced at my bag and thought about checking emails, but decided to go to bed. Couldn't sleep so pulled the laptop out for a distraction.

There it was. The email. I'd like to discuss representation. When is a good time for me to call you sometime today or tomorrow? Well, today was gone, but Holy Crap! Talk about emotional leaps. I allowed myself a little jump and squeal, but my son was sleeping and it'd been a heckofa day already. I wanted to be a little more excited, you know, have that euphoria that writers describe when they get their call, but I couldn't quite get there under the circumstances. What kind of karma is that? Advance directive in the morning and the dream I'd been working toward for years and years and years come true the same evening?

For the past month and a half, off my emailed query, I'd been dutifully and happily sending her first my partial, then the full, then the synopsis to the next 2 books (which I'd scribbled out in about an hour--the synopses, not the books).

I emailed her back and set a time for the following day. Which I'm grateful I had another day to actually speak with her because I had had that time to settle in my emotions that even though we'd put things in place, they were just a precaution for what ifs and scenerios later down the road. I was much more ready to be estatic.

Several nurses and a respirtory therapist were in the room. The child life specialist was just walking in with her hand out to clasp mine when my cell phone rang. With one glance at the area code, I lifted my hand, apologizing that I really needed to take this call and walked out.

So right there, pacing the medical center hallway in front of the elevators, I accepted representation with Naomi Hackenberg of the Elaine English Agency.

And jumping up and down, calling my husband, and then my sister--ensued. It was a great beginning to the Holidays.

I have an agent! A great agent!
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