It's no revelation that Margret had extremely good care and good medical support in the years after her diagnosis with pulmonary hypertension.
There's a new doctor in my family group, and I met her on Thursday. After we discussed my knee, and what to do about it (an x-ray which showed nothing amiss and a visit to the orthopedic doc next week) I said, "it's a shame you didn't get to meet my daughter Margret." She said, "I'll get to see her next time," and I had to stop her and explain that Margret died last year. Then I explained about the heart defect, and the pulmonary hypertension.
What put me in such a mood that I had to mention Margret? I was sitting in the Mom chair, gazing out the window over the exam table where Margret would sit, and thinking how she sat there every three months, waiting to see her doctor, chattering about something fun, and expecting a good report. I thought about the times she sat there feeling less than perfectly well, and how she sometimes thought I was overcautious. It made me sad to think we'll never be doing either again.
On my way out, I stopped at the nurses' station to get my ortho appointment, and the lady helping me was the same one (named after a lovely purple flower - I shall call her P, for Petunia, which isn't her flower but does come in a lovely purple) who handles referrals. I thanked her for the extra miles she'd gone to make sure Margret had all her referrals when she needed them, and for the time she'd sent one that vanished, and had to be sent again on the instant while we were waiting in that particular doctor's office to be seen.
"That's what we're here for," she said, and she remembered the mysterious vanishing referral. "I still have no idea where it went."
We chatted about Margret, and another doctor dropping papers off at the station said, "You're talking about Margret, aren't you? Everybody loved Margret."
I told him I very much appreciated the uniformly good care Margret got from the group.
He asked how old she was when she died; he said thirty seven was a very good age for someone with her unrepaired heart defect. He said, "she had very good care, and not just here."
The new doctor stepping up with her next paperwork heard, and added that she had cared for a number of patients with similar problems who had died in their late twenties; that Margret had done very well.
Margret had the best care that I could arrange, balanced with something like a normal life. Perhaps she would not have caught that awful bug if I had kept her in a bubble, kept her away from other people, kept her out of places with sniffling, sneezing human beings, but what fun would that have been? Margret lived for interaction with her friends. She loved to meet new people. She loved eating out, and she loved when we traveled.
A lot of things come down to luck, I suppose, and that bug she caught was one of them. Her good care was not luck, neither was how much she was loved. That was us loving her back for how loving she was. That was us doing our best to see that she had a long and happy life.
You did a great job, kiddo.