We are hitting the road in just a few hours…..Boston bound! I wish I could say this was a mini vacation. It is actually for an appointment to see a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. My son, Vasili has Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). Basically it is a hole in his heart. Everyone is born with a hole in their heart, it is called a foramen ovale. It is present in the fetus to allow blood to detour away from the lungs before birth. One in five healthy adults still have a small hole left over.
So now you are probably thinking, what’s the big deal? Well, the hole is in the septum, which separates the hearts left side from the right side. When there is a large hole, oxygen rich blood leaks from the heart’s left side to the right side. The blood is then pumped back into the lungs. This means the right side of the heart is working extra. In time the extra amount of blood flow in the lung arteries can cause some damage.
So to correct this Vasili will need open heart surgery. If left uncorrected he could live, but could die later of heart failure. There are usually no signs of this defect, just a simple heart murmur, which is what Vasili has. It sounded like an innocent murmur, which is normal in a child his age and size, but the cardiologist at MUSC heard something different than the Peds, and scheduled him for an Echo, just to be sure. His Echo in South Carolina is where this defect was discovered. Now people with a large hole are more susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia. They may also become tired all the time and lack energy. This is due to the heart working harder to pump blood.
Vasili has not shown any signs so far, although he does tire easily. So this will be a check up to see how he is doing. It is also for an EKG and Echo. The doctor is going to trace out his arteries, as in some cases they may be reversed, and that too will have to be corrected during his surgery.
According to MUSC he will not have surgery until he is either 3 or 30 pounds, to avoid any blood transfusions. The after surgery he will have to be kept quiet for 6 weeks while he heals. He will require check ups with the cardiologist every year, but will go on to live a full and healthy life! He will also be able to run and jump, play sports and do whatever his heart desires!!
So that is Vasili’s story. Tomorrow he has to be fed at 4:30am and can have nothing but water and apple juice after that until 8:30am. We have to arrive at the hospital at 10:00am (and he has to be tired). All this because he will be sedated for the Echo.
So, what is Sibylla going to do while her “Brunya” is being poked and prodded? Nay-Nay and Ga (my parents) are coming to Boston and will entertain her until we are all done…then we might head over to the New England Aquarium!!
Well, back to loading the car. We have a long ride, and a long day ahead of us!
(If you want to learn more about ASD go to www.americanheart.org)