“Annie, are you ready for your heart surgery? It’ll make you all better. Even though it’s sad.”
We hoped and prayed so much for Annie to be able to have the next surgery that Audrey gave her the pep talk Tuesday morning.
At 6:15 this morning I pushed a syringe of liquid red “giggle juice” into my 23-month-old’s mouth. She giggled and poked at my face, jabbered and mumbled, and finally started drooling and dancing her tongue- the sure sign it was time. She lay on my lap and they wheeled us back.
Warm smiles and handshakes turned to serious medical talk once the door skid closed. A mask of silly smell covered Annie’s face and in 30 seconds she nuzzled snugly into me. I slid out from underneath a limp baby so the team could IV and intubate her.
I walked slowly back to the smiling entry room, biting back tears. We’ll take good care of her, they promised. I knew from experience they’d keep their word.
4 hours later we were instructed to meet her cath surgeon in the consult room. Usually he leaves the door open, smiles, chats, and goes on. He marched in, tore free his protective mask, and clicked the door shut behind him.
Shifting eyes and fidgety feet told all we needed to know. “Her pressures are good. Favorable actually. I blocked one vein…the number that is the definitive measurement of heart function was low. So low I was surprised at how depressed her function actually is. Your cardiologist will stop by later to discuss our decision with you.”
In the meantime, Annie was coming to in her recovery room. When we entered she was croaking out one elicit word: “Tea!” Baby girl doesn’t know there’s no sweet tea in Philly! She settled for a sippy cup of apple juice instead.
She was required to lay flat on her back for 6 hours following her procedure. So I curled up beside her to comfort and kiss my sweet southern belle. I woke up to Matt shaking me as Annie’s cardiologist entered with the news.
No one wanted to be the messenger. He asked, what’d her cath dr tell you? He went on to smugly relay that though they knew from her echoes that her heart function wasn’t good, her MRI measurements were surprisingly bad. From an echo they’d quantify her in moderate failure. The MRI data categorized her in certain severe failure.
He shared that he honestly had hoped and planned that she’d be ready and we’d do surgery number three next week. At this time though he isn’t willing to recommend the Fontan surgery for this kind of heart.
On the other hand she’s not ready to list for a new heart yet either. He did prepare us,though, that it’s likely around the corner.
We wanted different. We wanted easy. We wanted more.
What we got was sad. Even though it’s sad it’s good to know that there’s a plan that can make Annie better someday.