Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It Feels Like the Flue, So They Gave Me a Balloon

My name is Marriah, I'm two days old and I feel like I have the worst flue ever. The doctors blew up a tiny balloon inside my heart and I've been assimilated into the Borg collective.

Mommy and daddy got to visit me a bunch today. They helped me feel a little better from all these people poking at me, and a case of flue-like feelings that made me feel terrible. The medicine, called PGE, that kept me alive was given to me all day long. But the side effect of PGE is it makes me run a feaver, and feel like I'm really sick. Thankfully they were able to give me much less of it by bedtime.

One of the doctors sat with mommy and daddy for a long time and told them everything he knew about my condition. The plan was to use a tiny balloon and thread it into my heart, where they would inflate it and get my misbehaving valve to open up. The doctor was very dour about his expectations. Given the state of my heart he wasn't very confident in how much of a difference it would make.

Dr "Dour", that was my nickname for him that day, took me to one of the operating rooms of Children's. Mommy and daddy were so upset, they didn't know what to do, so they kissed me good luck and went to the chapel to pray. While they were off praying, I was being placed in a deep sleep where "Dr. Dour" could do his work. He was very skilled, and very confident in his abilities. He didn't get discouraged when the first two balloons weren't strong enough. On the third try, he got it to work!

Immediately, the busted valve started doing it's job. The valve is still a problem and will have to be replaced. But, I might be three years old before we need to worry about that; that's 500 lifetimes compared to a two-day old. Mommy and daddy think my second day of life was the longest day, ever.

After the procedure was finished, I started waking up. They had reduced the PGE, which made me feel not so terrible, but still pretty bad. "Dr. Dour" was much more optomistic about things after the procedure. He had a well earned and satisfied smile from a job well done. He talked with mommy and daddy for a long time about what to expect for the next couple of days.

They planned to stop PGE, all-together, in the morning and observe me in the ICU to see how well I did on my own. They watched how well my heart did at getting blood to my lungs and, as the evening wore on, I was doing better. I was doing good enough to use the smallest dose of PGE before bed. The only real problem now was my racing lungs!

The procedure went so well that, with the duct still open from PGE, my lungs were getting too much blood! It made me breathe really fast all night long. Even so, with the lower medicine dose, my eyes became less puffy, and I finally got another chance to look at the world.

I was pretty groggy, but I looked on to a very content mommy and daddy. Everyone left with smiles and hope on their faces. We weren't out of the woods, but at least we found a trail that might lead somewhere.

Next time, I'll tell you about spending lots of time cuddling, looking at the world, and failing my first test.

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