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!


Kathy Otten said...

Wow, that was an emotional rollercoaster to read. I queried Elaine English agency years ago, but I didn't write as well back then, so Congratualtions. I hope the relationship is a good one and your career takes off. Hoping all the best for you and your son.
My daughter has a friend with cystic fibrosis and after years of ups and downs, he's still beating the odds. He's twenty-eight. Though two years ago I spent lots of time in the hospital supporting the mother of a young son with heart-failure. I have had a glimpse of the pain involved working out that list. You and your son are in my prayers.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Clover,
Sorry to hear about your son, wishing him all the best.
How lovely for you, at such a time of turmoil,to receive "the Agent call" I am so pleased for you.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Clover, sending prayers and hugs for your son and your family, and major congratulations on your agent!!

Mary Ricksen said...

I wish you the best of luck with your agent. I hope that the writing side of your life stays good. It will give you some happiness in amongst the sadness.

Marie Tuhart said...

Clover, I'm so sorry to hear about your son. I will keep him and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Congratulations on representation from the Elaine English agency.

Stay well, and take care of yourself.

Shawna Thomas said...

Congratulations on the agents and cyber hugs for the painful choices you had to make regarding your son.

I know it's not the same, but we had to do that with my Grandmother not too long ago and it's hard.

Sending lots of good thoughts your way. I wish him, and you, all the best.

Tiffany Green said...

Goodness, talk about ups and downs! I hope your son is doing better. Congratulations on your agent find. That is a great agency!

Carole St-Laurent said...

What a story! I hope your son is better and I wish you the best association with your agent. Publish that book!

Eileen said...

Came over from YARWA. Having had a friend's family touched by CF and being a writer myself you story made me feel a range of emotions. Huge congrats to you. If there is ever anything I can do, say the word.

Gerb said...

Congratulations, Clover. What a roller-coaster ride! I hope your son is doing better!!!

Maureen McGowan said...

What an astounding story. You know I think these "calls" rarely go the way we expect them to, but I'm sure even you wouldn't have imagined it happening on such a difficult emotional day.
Hoping you get a quick sale, but even more hoping your son is doing better soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Clover! Congratulations on a great agent! So excited for you.

I read on the NT Loop some of what's going on with your son. My heart goes out to you, your son, and your family during the days and weeks ahead.

Keeping all of you in my prayers for peace in the midst.


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Carla Gade said...

What a ride! I pray for your son and for you and am glad you had that special call when you spirits needed a lift and you needed to be nurtured after giving so much of yourself for your son.