The doctors had never seen anything like it. She was a perfectly healthy little girl who just happened to have two hearts. The only explanation they could offer was that she was supposed to have a twin, but that they had only just barely split apart. But that did not explain why only a single organ had been duplicated.
Due to the rarity of this condition, being that it was completely unheard of, we had no idea what to do. For now, she seemed fine. But complications would surely come one day in the future. She had already been advised against any strenuous activity, against exerting herself by, for example, going out for recess. So, she spent that time in the classroom alone, drawing, while every other child went outside.
Some of the doctors argued that it was counter intuitive to let her be so sedentary, to allow her to be so inactive and let both of her hearts weaken. They also argued for the girl’s social life, for her mental well being, for it wasn’t normal to spend so much time alone.
She likely couldn’t help but feel different then everyone else, though she tried to put a positive spin on it by proclaiming to everyone that she met that “I’m special because god gave me two hearts to love with.” It was a sweet thought, but she obviously didn’t know how much of a danger that fact could be to her health.
There wasn’t anything which we knew to do or recommend, so I was one of a few who thought that we should perhaps allow the girl to just try and live a normal life; if she did in fact start to experience any issues, then we could do from there.
But others still argued that it would better to be safe than sorry, that the girl would be risking her life everyday if she attempted to live so unrestricted.
It was quite the conundrum, and I was predisposed to wish that the former strategy could work, so that the smiling little girl could run and play freely, without having to remember or be told not to strain herself.
She was meant to be free like a bird, and yet her extra heart kept her in a cage. If she was to live, she couldn’t live freely. It wasn’t much of a choice. She had such a limited deck, and all of them were bad cards. It would inevitably be a short game. And a tragic game no matter what she chose, then.
Those doctors, including myself, got a front row seat to this sad story, though a very interesting one at that. Some of them were merely in it for the fact that this case was so unique; even though they didn’t have anything to contribute, they came just so that they could say that they worked on this one.
Me? No. I wanted this little girl to have the best chance possible with her two hearts.