Illustrated by: Leigh Grant
Published by: Harper & Row, 1978
Awards: Children's Choice Award, 1979. Winner of the 1983 Maud Hart Lovelace Award.
Copyright © Marilyn Singer 1978

It Can’t Hurt Forever

(excerpt from Chapter One)

Mom promised me I won’t die.  So I’m trying very hard to believe her, which is not the easiest thing in the world when every five minutes somebody or other comes in with a big smile and sticks a needle in your arm or a thermometer in your you-know-what.  And it’s especially not easy to believe when you’re feeling perfectly fine, ready to climb trees and run races, but everybody tells you you have to be in the hospital because something just happens to be wrong with your old ticker.  On television, when something’s wrong with your heart, it is not a very encouraging sign.

Dad says what’s wrong can be fixed; it’s pretty common, he says.  There’s this little tube (they call it a “duct”), between two arteries (those are blood vessels) leading from the heart, which is supposed to close after you’re born, only mine didn’t close and that means some of the blood isn’t flowing where it should.  So the doctors have to close it off, which means I have to have an operation.  And that’s weird because I’ve never even had my tonsils out!  Also, I have to be here about twelve days, which wouldn’t be bad if I were missing school, but the doctors said my operation wasn’t an emergency so I could wait until summer vacation.  So here I am, lying in bed on a perfectly beautiful July day when I should be swimming in my friend Maggie’s pool.