Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Catching up

Apparently Deanne and I have been a bit busy since I turned 50.  That was the last blog post anyway.  It must have something to do with recovering from two trips to China last year, a job change, the holiday season and, oh yeah, just having 14 kids at home to manage.  Another contributing factor is the way Deanne has ramped up her Facebook posts.  That has served as a major conduit for staying in touch and getting the most important stuff out there. 

As a follow up to me turning 50, I actually received my AARP membership request with the official cards in the mail Saturday.  I thought that stuff comes when you turn 55??  If youth is a state of mind, I am reminding myself that I have a two year old and I still play basketball with 20 year olds on the court without embarrassing myself, so I must not have one foot in the grave yet.  In fact, I often get compliments on my fade away jump shot.  I just don't tell them I have to fade away because if I tried to out jump them straight up, they would swat the ball into the cheap seats.

Now with Gideon in the hospital again, maybe it is time for some more detailed posts that would not be acceptable on Facebook due to the length required. I don't think Facebook has a restriction on the number of characters in a post like Twitter, but there is certainly an unofficial restriction imposed by FB etiquette. I don't know exactly what that is, but depending on what post you are reading, you know when you get there.

Gideon went through a catheter procedure and 3D echo this morning.  Last year when they went into his heart with a catheter to measure things for the first surgery, his heart went into severe arrhythmia 4 times that required him to be shocked out of it before they finally decided to stop.  We were a bit worried about a replay this morning even though Dr. Mart, the cardiologist, assured us that his heart was going to be fine this time.  The cath lab doctor told us that the procedure would be about 3 hours.  They handed us a pager and said we would probably not hear anything until it was done.

You can imagine our panic when the pager they gave us went off in about an hour. Of course, we allowed our minds to think of the worst possible outcome.  Even as I was telling Deanne not to think the worst, I had to fight the same temptation. The cath lab is on the 1st floor. We were on the 3rd floor in the family retreat area provided by the Ronald McDonald foundation. The stairs are closed for construction and that has put extra traffic on the elevators. Waiting for an elevator is never fun. It was painfully slow this time. We rushed through the doors looking for any clues of concern coming from the activity in the cath lab or the staff in the corridor. A nurse took the pager from me and shuffled us into a little room to meet with Dr. Mart.  He is a great man, skilled cardiologist and most likely a great poker player. His expression gave us no clues. As he started to speak, Deanne stopped him and said, "Is Gideon alive!?!?"  He said, "Oh sure.  Everything is fine."  He was surprised at our panic and continued his explanation about what they had found so far.  He had just completed the 3D echo portion of the procedure and wanted to share with us what he had learned as soon as possible.  His desire to get us the information before the 3 hours we anticipated scared us to death!  I don't think either one of us focused on what he said for the first 2 minutes. We were tyring to get our minds back from that dark place they went to after the pager went off.

The 3D color images of Gideon's one heart valve were amazingly clear and detailed.  Being able to see the inside of a beating heart like that is truly a miracle.  The hole in the valve was very obvious even to us. It has a dome shape with that expands to open from the middle (kind of like a shutter on a camera lens) when the heart muscle contracts the ventricle pushing the blood through it. When it closes it is all supposed to seal up.  Gideon's doesn't.  There is a small hole in the middle that allows the blood to come back through it.

Dr. Mart spent an hour with us explaining his opinion of what the surgeon could elect to do.  Other cardiologists stopped by to offer their opinion.  The surgeon had another opinion.  There was no shortage of ideas.  Here are the options as we understand them:

1.  We could do nothing. (Not likely) We feel like we need to do more for Gideon.
2.  We could give him medicine to keep the fluids under control.  Bring him home without surgery and watch for signs that the medicine stops working and the valve is getting worse. (This doesn't seem like a good option. The leaking valve seems to be the cause of the problem that got us here.)
3.  Repair the valve surgically this week. (Seems like a good plan)
4.  Repair the valve surgically in a few weeks after we see how he reacts to the medication. (We are not sure what the point is to this option if a repaired valve eliminates the need for the medicine altogether.  Why not just repair the valve now?)
5.  Repair the valve AND do the Fontan procedure at the same time in the next week or so.   (The Fontan is what he was scheduled to have in a couple of years as a follow up to the Glen procedure he had last year.  This option was suggested by the surgeon today and we kind of like it.  If we are opening him up, let's get it all done at the same time.  Right now, I am leaning this way.) 

These options (and maybe more) will be presented to the cardiology group Wednesday morning for discussion and the treatment plan will be decided after that.  We assume they will present their decision to us and we will have the final say in the matter.  That is when we hope we can be open to receive any direction coming from a higher Source. 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all of the information! I know you have lots of people praying for all of you, but you can add our names to the list too. We'll put your names on the Louisville Temple Prayer Roll when we go in today. Sending lots of love - The Ranquists