“It is something,” she says.
And for a moment the street you are walking on falls into silence. The man sitting outside Starbucks pauses midway through his coffee, the child in the pushchair stops his wail of despair. Your breath gets caught in your throat, and your palms turn sweaty and your eyes sting with the threat of oncoming tears, and you still don’t know what something is.
“Are you there?” she says, speaking louder down the phone.
And you croak a reply that sounds like yes whilst your head spins back to the last time you were told it ‘was something.’ When you stood with your older child in a doctors surgery as the nurse looked at you gently, and told you your eldest daughter was dangerously ill, and needed to go to hospital immediately.
Then something was diabetes.
But now, as the world hangs on something, and the disembodied voice waits to tell you what it is, you can only fear the worse and in a split second you see the end of it all.
“We only have some of the tests back, but it has shown something.”
Your breath now threatens to choke you, overwhelm you; whilst you battle with the theory that perhaps not knowing is better.
“So far, we can see she has a hormone deficiency,” the voice begins “that is causing her low blood sugars, it seems to be her growth hormone, which links to the pituitary gland.”
For a moment an irrational thought flies into your mind, your three year old is hormonal, does that explain the tantrums and the sometimes diva like performances?
“We need to do more tests, I’m sorry.”
You snap back into seriousness, when doctors say they are sorry, it normally means something is going to be crap.
“We need to do a brain scan, to rule out tumours, it is rare.”
Tumours – that bloody word again. It keeps cropping up, mixed with the word unlikely, but it pops up all the same.
“Now don’t worry, she has had a MRI before?”
Silently you mouth; “three, my three year old daughter has had three, this will be her eighth general anesthetic.”
You struggle to keep up as new words are forced into your head. The world is still silent as new knowledge finds a place in your brain.
“She will need hormones, by injection, maybe once, maybe twice a day, until puberty ends.”
Puberty? Your daughter has yet to master writing; the end of puberty is a lifetime away. Injections, you bloody hate injections.
“Hopefully it won’t be anything more, but the tests, the new tests they will tell us more. I’m sorry.”
Sorry, there she goes again, apologising, scaring the shit out of me.
“Before the MRI, we will starve her, give her sugar, let her drop, and take more blood. It is a rough test.”
You remember the twelve vials from last time, lined up, dripping with your youngests blood. Does she any more left? Will it hurt her like last time?
“Do you understand Jane? I will write in a letter? It will be ok, please don’t worry.”
You think, “I am a mother, how can I not worry?”
You hang up the phone, the world awakens.