2 April 2005


Granny and Grandad had to come through again like all the other times, these past two weeks. They promised to stay with big brother while my wife and I talk to the 22q11 specialist.

I had told my loved one, she had cried and I comforted. I had tried to see the good in knowing things in advance, being prepared with all sorts of questions. We had had some time since that other doctor gave me news earlier today. I’m not sure it helped.

Eventually a woman arrived. She had reddish hair, a white doctor’s coat and a singing Icelandic accent. “Hi, my name is Solveig, are you Abbe’s mum and dad?” She looked at Abbe for a while, and then gave him a little pat on the cheek with the back of her index finger. She sat down on a chair opposite us and started talking.

Catch22/DiGeorge is an unusual type of chromosome deficiency. There are about 20-30 children born each year in Sweden with this diagnosis. How severe problems it'll result in, varies widely from child to child. Apart from the physical problems such as heart conditions, cleft pallet, immune system trouble, lack of calcium, hearing or sight difficulties, there might be difficulties in concentration and learning disabilities later in life. I heard her mention ADHD, autism and more but I found it so hard to focus that most of it passed without reaction.

“I’ve met so many children with this diagnosis and they’re all lovely”, said Dr. Solveig. She seems a sweet enough person and I’m sure those words were meant to comfort us but they seemed to have the opposite effect. She left us there with lumps in our throats that were becoming impossible to swallow.

In spite of all the time we’d had to prepare I don’t remember asking her a single question.

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