In 14 days Dr. Montenegro will kidnap Annie and coax her into a still, painless sleep. For 4 long hours we will try desperately to believe her famous pre-procedure words, “Don’t worry. We’ll take good care of her.” While Annie rests limp and nearly lifeless, Dr. Spray will again open her chest and touch her heart with his practiced hands. I hope her heart remembers his familiar, lifesaving touch.
The problem is that because of her heart failure that caused our recent 30-day hospital stay it won’t be as easy this time. In 2/3 of patients like Annie who already exhibit some level of dysfunction, the Glenn procedure will improve the work of their hearts. 1/3 of the patients, though, have hearts that are already too weak to respond. Our cardiologist called this the 33% who do poorly…adding that poorly is a nice way of saying hopelessly. Hopelessly doesn’t mean a tough recovery or longer inpatient stay or more medicines or a bigger scar. Hopelessly, in 90something% of those 33%, means death. The odds are still in our favor.
The same odds that were less than 1% (1 in 110) that Annie would have a congenital heart defect in the first place. But these are also the odds that said Annie would be in the hospital up to 8 weeks after she was born. Annie stayed a mere 16 days. The same odds that said she would likely struggle to eat by mouth and definitely wouldn’t ever breastfeed. We laugh as for 12 weeks I breastfed our now 14lb 12oz roly poly who ranks in the 92% for weight out of all 3 month olds.
Because of Annie’s defying of some odds and succumbing to others, she’s lived 8 weeks at home and 6 weeks institutionalized (thank you, medicaid office, for that cozy classification). So in 10 days we will load our Acadia with bottles, diapers, monogrammed onesies, Dr. Pepper (I’m not going to be missing that again!), and all of our dreams to travel 1,172 miles to our institution of choice in hopes to arrive within 20 hours for Annie to undergo her second of three open heart surgeries.
All of these numbers swirling around in my head dizzy my spirit. But then I’m reminded that there’s more. The God who knows how many individual hairs make up Annie’s voluminous ginger tuft also knows the count of every.single.one. of her little half-heart beats. And He guarantees that in eternity, numbers won’t matter anymore. So on that grim surgery day of July 30, and every day until then, I hope in Him and His promise that no matter what may come, He will be enough.