Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a half a baby aspirin a day with the hope it'll keep the heart doctor away!...

SO much has happened over the past three weeks. As most of you already know our boy Brendan has had a hole in his heart since birth. We did not know there was anything wrong with him or his heart till he was just a wee little guy laying on my chest & had a tacchicardia episode. (His heart was beating really really fast, 224 beats per minute to be exact!). After MANY tests & several doctor visits it was determined that the hole all babies have in utero never closed up. The hole is also known as an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect). This defect can be fatal if undetected once he gets older. I cannot tell you how happy I am that we had the opportunity to find out about his at such an early age!

Brendy at about 2 months old! Awhhh...
Since the diagnosis he has seen a cardiologist every six months & three weeks ago today we went for his last check up to see if his hole changed at all. Realistically I knew the odds of it closing were slim to none but we still prayed about it & hoped for a miracle. We did the routinue of an EKG & then an Echocardiogram. Brendan is by the far the strangest kid. He freaks over the little stuff & handles the BIG stuff like a pro. It was the measly EKG that freaked him out. He bawled from the moment he had to sit on the exam table, throughout the minute long EKG & until the last sticker was pulled off his chest! That boy can create quite the drama! He must learn it from his sisters! hehee! They did his weigh in which said he was 29 lbs (I doubt the scale was accurate!) because he is quite scrawny! =] Then came the Echocardiogram.

Seeing what his heart looks like
This is the important part & we needed him to be still. I prepped him by saying how special he was & not everyone could actually see their heart but he could. I was quite surprised at how still he was, he layed there quietly as she scanned the various angles to his heart. His sisters felt even more special that they too could see his heart & watched in amazement! No sooner did we have the tests completed & soon thereafter the Doctor called me into his office to go over everything. He determined what we already knew, his hole needed to be closed now. You see his hole never changed in size or closed on it's own so they had to close it with a device. The device is called an Aplatzer Septal Occluder; it is a device that basically patches the hole. The scary part was that they were not sure if they could even close it with the device because his hole was quite large & high on the septal wall. IF they were unable to close it with this device then they would have to close it surgically. YIKES!!

Photo courtesy of Cleaveland Clinic
This entire chapter of his short life has been SO amazing! Heck the heart is quite amazing to begin with! After all of the doctors visits he has had I feel like I have been thru part of medical school! ha! Luckily we were able to schedule this procedure to be done at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital with Dr Chandar just two weeks later during Spring Break. One of my best friends Kathy offered to take the girls so that left just Dustyn, Brendan & I to head down to Hollywood to get his Pre Op's done. We took the Tri Rail, a train that links the three counties, to meet up with Grandma then off to the hospital to let the testing begin. Being able to ride a train was just one of the "fun" parts to this adventure! Bren was SO excited to be on the train that he talked non stop! LOL! {There was more to that adventure that I hope to share with everyone in another post real soon! =]}

On the train!!
I really cannot say enough about Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, they ROCK! From the custodians cleaning the bathroom's to the Doctors performing the surgeries they really made our stay there EXTRA special. I really do feel that more hospitals should follow their lead regarding patient care. They treat you like family & that's something I really appreciated! After all his tests & another weigh in, {27 & 1/2 lbs this time} were complete we were fortunate to be able to walk across the street from the hospital to stay at the "Conine Clubhouse" {It's like a Ronald McDonald House for families to stay when their children are in the hospital}. Having just one child with us was SO different! Trust me, Brendan soaked up all the attention he was getting! =] On Tuesday we had to get up really early so he could be admitted & prepped for the ASD closure. He had all the nurses wrapped around his little finger. I think it was his rocker hairdo that did it! Who can resist a mohawk?! =] I was the "chosen one" to go into the operating room with him while he was put under. Realistically his Daddy could not have handled it. He is a wimp when it comes to medical stuff involving his kids. So there I was all dressed up in this white jumpsuit & a crazy blue cap. I looked ridiculous!! I am sure Bren saw three or four of me by that time because by then he was really feeling his loopy meds. Once he was knocked out I was outta there & the waiting began. Here is what the procedure looks like. {They put a catheter through the femoral artery in both legs to gain access to the heart. They then inflate the device through the catheter to close the hole.}

Picture courtesy of Cleaveland Clinic
The doctor had already prepped us by saying these procedures could go anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours long. Well he was in there almost three!! I tried not to worry but Michael was watching the clock & reminding me as the minutes/hours passed. When it was all said & done they were able to close the hole not without some issues but they overcame them & our boy's heart is whole again! They said his heart just like ours is the size of our fist. Well the hole in his tiny heart was the size of a dime & the device they used to close it was the size of a nickel. Everyone that has either scanned him or saw his scans have told us his hole was quite large. As part of the recovery he needed to remain in bed with his legs straight for 4 hours but after that he could move. Coming out of the anesthesia was another story too.
In Recovery
I am still amazed at how well he is doing. Not 8 hours went by & the kid was walking the halls! The next day they repeated the echocardiogram where they found he still had a small leak. They are not as concerned about it & feel the device will hold & eventually the tissue will grow over the device & the hole will completely close. WOo HOo! I have to credit his recovery to our faith in God. We asked so many of you to keep him & the Doctors/Nurses in your prayers & you did! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! He still has some more tests to be completed in the coming weeks & continued follow up with his doctors but all in all he is good. The only med's he needs now is...

Laying back & having some fruit loops!

a half a baby aspirin a day with the hope it'll keep the heart doctor away!...


Amber said...

Oh my goodness. What an adventure for your family and quite the miracle. I am so glad that they were able to patch it and pray that the aspirin keeps the doctors away. Thanks for sharing your story. I always enjoying reading your updates.

Wade's World said...

So glad that he's doing great! I know he means the world to you!!!

Do NOT copy!