Growing up, I don’t think we had a backsplash in our kitchen. After I left my childhood home, I spent the next thirteen years in apartments. I don’t think there was a blacksplash in any of them either. Then, we bought a house, and I discovered that we HAD to have a backsplash. All of a sudden, backsplash appeared everywhere. It was as if they were invisible for thirty years – suddenly, EVERYONE seemed to have one.
Before Simon died, I didn’t know anything about sudden cardiac arrest in children. I didn’t know anyone that had experienced it. Then, he died. But it didn’t play out exactly like the backsplash. It’s not like everyone started dying from sudden cardiac arrest. Instead, I began to discover that everyone has been touched by sudden cardiac arrest.
Last week, I had three such encounters. On Tuesday, I emailed a state lawmaker to introduce her to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act and request a meeting. Her legislative aide let me know that she was not immediately available and then shared that she she passed out while playing sports in high school. She currently lives with an implantable defibrillator.
I met with a company to talk about a partnership. During the discussion, one of the people in the room shared that he was forced to retire from high school basketball because he kept passing out.
Finally, I was looking to purchase photos online for a marketing piece. The woman that handles the licensing let me know that she had heart surgery in her twenties because of a heart condition.
Living in this realm that bridges families, education and medicine, it is easy to get lost and distracted by data. It is impossible to change a policy or procedure without conducting surveys and creating registries.
Sometimes, however, all we need to do is open our eyes to see all the backsplashes, and open our ears and hearts to hear all the stories of children affected by heart conditions. Believe it or not, they’ve been here all along . . . we’re just not listening.