Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Horton family heart story.

In January 2005, I was a little over 8 months pregnant with our first child when I got very sick with pre-eclampsia, and had to deliver our son via emergency C-section.

Zachary was born 7 weeks early and was rushed to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital NICU at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital shortly after his arrival. Things seemed fine until two or three days later when he did not seem to be getting enough oxygen and was soon diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. (TOF).

His Pulmonary Valve was not big enough to support the needed blood flow to oxygenate his lungs. He also had a somewhat large hole in his heart that was causing blood to mix between the ventricles in his heart, causing him to be “blue”.

At 11 days old, he was transferred from Good Sam to the larger Phoenix Children’s Hospital campus. The next day he had a balloon angioplasty to correct the small pulmonary valve. We were told that our son would need open-heart surgery sometime in the next 6 to 9 months to more effectively correct his problem.

About 2 months later, we noticed he was having difficulty breathing so we took him back to PCH. He was admitted and the next day the cardiac surgeon had a consultation with us. He felt that Zachary needed the corrective surgery sooner rather than later, and had gained the necessary weight and size for the surgery to be effective. I will always remember the words that Dr. Teodori said when I was talking to him about the surgery. I mentioned that I was a little emotional and that I knew it was a bit more clinical for him since this was his job, he looked at me and shook his head and said it was far less clinical and was always emotional for him no matter how many times he had this talk with parents.

We went ahead and had the surgery for our son, and it was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. No one prepares you for an experience like this. Handing your child over to a nurse that will have his little life in her hands. I remember after giving my son to the nurse, going into the bathroom standing against the wall, sliding to a sitting position and just sobbing and crying my eyes out. Just thinking about it now is making me tear up.

While my son was in the hospital recovering, I would sit by his bedside and read stories or sing Kenny Chesney songs to him. After he was home, he would not sleep unless I sang to him. I spent countless hours singing every and any KC song that came to mind. Zach has since learned to love the songs from The Wiggles and Laurie Berkner so I guess Kenny will just have to be Mommy’s favorite again!

I am very grateful that my Husband has wonderful health insurance and we did not pay a dime for any of the services that were provided to us at PCH. I know that not every family is so lucky. I feel that I need to do something to give back so that others will be more aware of how they can help and possibly donate, so that parents who are not as fortunate to have great health coverage don’t have to wonder how they can help their child.

Today our son is a happy and healthy 17-month-old and we only have God and the wonderful people at PCH to thank for that.

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