How Far? As Far as Needed…

Heart Moms and Heart Dads, I’m about to give you some advice that you might find difficult to accept.

If you are the parent of a Cardiac Kid, there will come a moment when you have to make a decision that affects the life of your child. This is not a “might happen” or “could happen”… the fact that your child has a Congenital Heart Defect makes it unavoidable. Often, this will be a decision that involves a difficult surgical procedure. Hopefully the need for surgery will be anticipated, and you can weigh all of your options before making your choice. Unfortunately, there could also be an emergency, a situation in which a decision is needed right now.

When that time comes, consider all of the information you have, all of the advice you have received from your doctors, consult with your spouse, and make the decision. And no matter the outcome, never second guess yourself.

Obviously, you need to make some kind of decision – for or against, yes or no – for any action to take place. When time is critical, not making a decision is a decision itself. If you wait too long, the opportunity may pass.

Always talk it over with your spouse, even if the need for action makes the discussion is a very hurried one, and do your best to come to a consensus. A good doctor won’t let one parent make the decision on his/her own if it is possible. If the worst happens, the spouse who made the decision could be blamed… and very few marriages survive that kind of pressure.

The hardest thing to do is the most important: Never, ever second guess yourself. It’s almost impossible not to, especially if things didn’t turn out the way you hoped. Assuming you carefully considered your options and made what seemed to be the best choice, don’t torture yourself with the question “What if…?” Because if you ask it once, you’ll ask it all of your life.

So no second guessing. Live your life knowing that under difficult circumstances, you did the best you could do. Be there for others going through the same stresses. Because until the day that Congenital Heart Defects are a thing of the past, there will be difficult decisions to be made.


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One Response to “How Far? As Far as Needed…”

  1. Wendy Says:

    As a heart mom I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I’ve been in that spot already and hope that I am never there again (however I am realistic that as a heart mom the chances of it happening again someday are pretty good). It was overwhelming when my son went into CHF and was diagnosed with his CHD’s and we were told he needed emergency transport and surgery to survive. We listened to the surgeon list all the risks, including death and had to sign the waiver. So scary, but we were fortunate to have an excellent team of doctors and nurses and surgeons who took theprecious time to explain it to us and how the risks were there, but were reasonably low as far as heart surgery goes.
    We were lucky, Christopher’s surgery was a success with an uncomplicated recovery. I know how easily it could have gone the other way. Your comments about not second guessing are very valid and much appreciated.
    Actually, I really love reading your blog. I am really learning a lot from you about life with a CHD. My son is too young to even know he has a CHD, but you’ve opened my eyes to a lot of things that I must remember as he grows up. Thank you for this, for sharing your experiences and for letting us heart moms peek into the life of an adult CHDer who has such a wonderful and fulfilling life. It gives us all great hope.


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