I have come to realize that having kids changes my perspective on many things. Today I went to work to do an aortic valve at 9am. Of course, after a rough morning and getting to work at 7:45 my case changed to a heart transplant scheduled to start at 11. This is typical. I was excited to be off relatively early today because I was tired and really wanted to come home to nap with my girls. Anyway, we ended up not starting the case until 2:15 so no naptime for me today! Back on the subject, the transplant was for a 5 year old, and she is absolutely beautiful. I have done many heart transplants on children before, but this was my first case on a child since I have been back.
Many emotions went through my head today. I have always been sensitive to the families of these kids. But never have I understood. Of course I saw this little girl before we started and she was very scared. I knew it would all be ok, but I ached so bad for her poor parents. Not the perspective I used to think from. They even had shirts made out for her. I can only relate to how I felt the two short days my Leah was in the NICU with her broken arm. So not a comparison. I cant imagine having to go through that, not only as the patient, but as her family.
The worst thing is that the reason this child needed a new heart is unknown. Its called Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy, meaning the heart gives out and no one knows why. Ive seen it a lot in kids, and even postpartum patients get something similar. Such a scary thing! This is where working in my field is bad - you see and know too much. So today as I did my case I thought of these parents sitting in the waiting room and what they must have been going through as their child went through surgery. A child who not too long ago was a healthy little girl! I thought about it a lot more than I used to.
On top of that, I had to also think of the fact that this heart that we were giving her came from another child out there and that just killed me as well. Those poor parents made it through the new year and then their kid dies. Its horrible. These situations are always bittersweet. A new heart for one baby, and a loss of another.
I am still a bit hormonal, and sorry for the depressing post, but today was a rather difficult day for me. I am happy to say that Dr Kirklin did an amazing job and my patient did wonderfully, as I anticipated. Please pray for the speedy recovery of my patient, whose name I cannot enclose, her famiuly, and for the family who just lost their child. Im just glad everything turned out well, but it is strange how different I think now!
I'm off tomorrow, so I get lots of snuggle/ play time with my girls! I am so looking forward to it!