In the comments for the previous post titled One of Many, Christina Davis mentions a “field guide” that I recommended to her. If you have a heart defect, or if you are the parent of a Cardiac Kid, I’d also like to recommend that book to you. The Illustrated Field Guide to Congenital Heart Disease and Repair is a compact, well written reference, and it has practically everything you need to know under one cover. It is spiral bound, so it will lay flat when you place it on a table. Chapter 2 is a description (with diagrams) of 35 different heart defects. If you need to know about it, it is probably in here. Chapter 5 covers 30+ heart operations, and their major variations. Add in chapters on Electrocardiograms and the drugs usually prescribed to CHD patients, and you’ve got a valuable resource. The guide does contain some medical jargon, but if you’ve dealt with CHD issues, you probably know enough “doctor talk” to understand it.
The book comes in a large format edition, and a pocket sized version. The pocket sized book can be shoved in your purse with little trouble, or stuffed into a jacket pocket. It will even fit in a man’s back pocket, with a little pushing and shoving. You can order both versions here. Don’t worry about the higher prices further down the list, this company sells computerized software for Cardiology programs. And you can ignore the line about needing a purchase order (and a $200 minimum purchase); that is only for businesses or organizations.
If you or your child is Cyanotic, you may want to have a Pulse Oximeter. I use the Onyx 9500, manufactured by Nonin. It’s a good instrument… my Cardiologist’s office used to use it, then they moved up to the Onyx 9550, a newer model. That’s when I got my oximeter: Once a newer model comes out, the price on the older model (usually) drops.
You want to get a fingertip model, if you can. (Note: A fingertip model is too big for an infant) The typical fingertip pulse oximeter is about 2 inches long and perhaps 1.5 inches wide, and it clips on your finger like a clothespin. Ten seconds later, you have the result: in fact, right now (Clips oximeter on finger) my pulse is 61and the percentage of oxygen in my blood is 81% — pretty much normal for me. When you aren’t testing, you can stick it in your pocket, since they are pretty durable.
Pulse Oximeters are available on eBay. Occasionally you can get one surplus from a hospital, but eBay is a more sure bet. A good one will cost $100 to $150.
I don’t work for either of these companies, and if you decide to purchase an item, they won’t send me a penny. And I am certainly not a medical professional. But the book and the Oximeter are two items I own that come in handy, and you may find them useful, too.