Oscilloscope

Okay, so my brainiac friend, Jason Gilmore, just gave me this word, OSCILLOSCOPE, to write about. Essentially, he cracked open my cranium and poured some liquid over my control panel that created lots of smoke and shot sparks and gave off a lot of feedback. I’ve officially short-circuited. Congratulations, Jason. You broke it.

I’m not a scientist. I don’t even play one on TV. In fact, I’m fairly confident that I got a D- in all of my high school science courses. I’m pretty sure, however, that an oscilloscope appears in nearly every 1950’s horror film in some way, shape or form. “Bride of the Atom” or “The Outer Limits” could be a couple of examples of usage. While I couldn’t explain the inner workings of these thingy-majigs, I know one when I see one. I think. And my favorite memory of an oscilloscope goes something like this:

Ben was just 2 1/2 years old and was having surgery to remove his primary tumor on his adrenal gland. He had been in surgery for what seemed like days. I was especially nervous because just a couple of weeks before, another little kiddo fighting neuroblastoma had passed away directly after her surgery to remove her primary tumor. I was a wreck since Ben was in for the exact same procedure. Anyway, when they finally called us back to see him I all but ran to his bedside. My first reaction was “Why is he so pink?” Apparently, they had to give him a transfusion during his surgery and they gave him a bit extra (not uncommon) so he was extra pink. My next thought, which I kept to myself initially, was that he looked like a demented marionette. He had lines coming from every single limb and he was just so limp and lifeless. My warped imagination/coping mechanism immediately grasped on to the thought that “if only he had one of those x-thingys at the top of his head I could make him get up and dance.” Hey. I said I was demented. If he’d been any other color than super pink I would have thought he was no longer living. He still had tape on his eyes to keep them closed during surgery, which the nurse took off right away. I think she felt my heartache.

I sat on the very edge of his bed just looking at him. All the bandages. All the incisions. All the ouchies. It was nearly unbearable but I was afraid to get near him because of all the lines and monitors. Ben was having some heart issues post-procedure. The monitor would show consistent squiggles and then suddenly it would freak out and go all over the place. This made me think he was in pain (which was probably true) and I would begin to panic. If only they had hooked ME up to a heart monitor, we could have had dueling squiggles. Oh yeah. I should state here that the oscilloscope displays the waveform of the heartbeat. At least that’s my understanding. *DISCLAIMER* I DID nearly flunk science. I might be wrong. 🙂

I’d only been a mom for two-and-a-half years so my maternal instincts weren’t working full-throttle. I knew what I needed to do but I couldn’t make myself do it because I was a little embarrassed. I had to sing. And I didn’t want anyone to hear my pathetic singing voice. After all, I’d been one of four people to not make chorus during my seventh grade year (okay, so now you know that I stink at science AND singing… it goes without saying that I wasn’t a stellar student!) So, as I became a little more comfortable moving closer to him on his bed, I started to hum. Slowly, I’d gain a little more real estate next to his small and broken body as I realized that I wasn’t going to hurt him. And hummed a little louder. Moved a little closer. Started adding words. Snuggled right up to him. Belted out a Beatles tune. “Blackbird” in fact. And the squiggles started to stabilize. His heart heard me. And the beautiful part? His heart responded. The measurements between the beats of his heart gained a uniform consistency that made my heart – and singing voice – soar.

I know I’m not a doctor. I know absolutely nothing about medicine. But I do know that NOTHING substitutes for a mother’s true love. Maybe that should be used to calibrate an oscilloscope? Probably not. But it’s a nice thought.

By the way, Ben says I have a BEAUTIFUL singing voice and he still responds when I sing “Blackbird” to him. I haven’t stopped singing since.

Thanks for the word, Jason. I wish I would have sat next to you in science class so I could have copied your work (I failed Ethics, too). You are clearly a super smart dude and I’m sure you’ll (gently) correct me if I’m wrong. I sincerely hope, however, that you won’t make me redo the assignment. Go easy on me and give me a dumbed-down word!

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