A Beautiful Heart

Funky Heart has a new friend – meet Chloe, a 9 year old Cardiac Kid! Chloe has Partial Atrioventricular Canal and already fought the Battle of the Operating Room once.

But she’s going back – Chloe is scheduled for surgery next Tuesday, October 27, 2009. Her blog is BRAND NEW and Chloe would love for you to drop by and say hi! Don’t forget to wish her luck next Tuesday!

Her blog is named A Beautiful Heart – if you think you’ve heard that phrase before, you very well may have. Chloe’s parents tell us why:

Our daughter is beautiful, yes – big brown eyes and an enchanting grin. But is her heart? The name of this blog comes from chapter 5 of the book Walk on Water by Michael Ruhlman. It is a must-read for those touched by CHD, and an excellent book in general. This chapter ends with a mother standing in a hospital corridor, having just handed her baby over for open heart surgery. She is sobbing into her hands. Those of you who have been in that corridor – you know.

That walk down to the OR by your child’s gurney is the longest walk you will ever take. And once you’ve said all there is to say and the gurney rolls past the door with the NO ADMITTANCE sign, it marks the beginning of the longest day you will ever live.

And it will be much longer than you think.

When the door closes and you’re left alone as the nurse points out the Surgical Waiting Room, a clock starts in your head. The doctor said four hours, you think.  Four hours from now will be…

But things aren’t happening yet. If you could go through that door, all you would do would be to wait. The surgical suites are usually occupied; and nobody is going to tell a surgeon to hurry up, his next patient just rolled in.  The staff is still taking care of pre-op details and doing their safety checks: Correct patient? Correct diagnosis? Correct procedure planned? Correct surgeon? All these questions have to be answered before the patient even enters the OR. When I was being prepped for my second operation in 1977, one of the nurses leaned down and asked my my name and my birthday. Then she asked “Do you know what they are planning to do today?”

You mean you don’t know? I thought. It must have been obvious on my face, because she smiled and patted my shoulder. “I have to ask, it’s the rules.”

And we aren’t even in the Operating Room yet. Meanwhile, over in Surgical Waiting, a lot of people are watching the clock.

Perversely, you want the operation to take longer than you expected. The battle has been joined. Our side  may not be winning yet, but we’re still in there fighting and by God, we aren’t losing.

The predicted time comes and goes with no news. Finally, hours later, almost at the point when you are about to panic, the phone rings and it is the OR. Surgery’s over; they’re closing. In about half an hour we’ll bring them down to Recovery and you can see your child.

As you leave Surgical Waiting you see another couple enter and glance quickly at the clock. And you know exactly what that glance means:

Four hours from now will be…

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4 Responses to “A Beautiful Heart”

  1. Andrea Himmelberger Says:

    Gosh, you really brought back those moments for me. Every detail. Love your blog Steve, and love the book Walk on Water.

  2. Shannon Carter Says:

    That brings tears to my eyes. Our son had his first surgery when he was 8 days old and will be heading down that long corridor again very soon. Every time I think about that moment, the moment they took his tiny little body in that big crib to surgery…ugh, even the memories are almost unbearable.

    I’m a new-ish reader of your blog, and I just wanted to tell you I enjoy it very much. It’s so nice to read about a grown “heart baby.” Thank you for sharing.

    We’ll definitely be praying for Chloe!

    Shannon Carter
    Mommy to Derrick, 6 months
    (single ventricle, Dextrocardia, Mitral Valve Atresia, Pulmonary Stenosis, Transposition of the Great Arteries)

  3. Shannon Carter Says:

    P.S. I just read your ‘about the author,’ and we live in SC too! :)

  4. rocky Says:

    That brings tears to my eyes. Our son had his first surgery when he was 8 days old and will be heading down that long corridor again very soon. Every time I think about that moment, the moment they took his tiny little body in that big crib to surgery…ugh, even the memories are almost unbearable.

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