Friday, May 11, 2012

Finlay does it the hard way...again!

Finlay underwent surgery this morning to insert a cardiac catheter so they could plan the next step in his care. A minor operation. According to the American College of Cardiology, Cardiac catheterization is a common medical procedure that rarely causes serious complications.”

Sadly no-one told Finlay.

There is a bit of history here. When he was about 5 months old he was due to have a cardiac catheterisation. The day after arriving in hospital he developed an infection. This was at a time when he was a very sick child. His heart was failing and glucose control seemed a mythical concept so infections were not unusual (to be honest we’re finding glucose control to still be a bit of a myth but glucose management is a developing skill!). So it was a week of a screaming upset baby before the operation went ahead.

During the surgery the surgeons placed a small coil into his PDA, a small vessel between the pulmonary artery and aorta that should have closed after birth but didn’t. This is a fairly common heart defect and is easily rectified, the coil blocking the blood flow through the blood vessel and effectively shutting it off.

However, following Finlay’s op he started passing very dark red urine, the blood was passing round the coil and being shredded in a process called haemolysis. Once the surgeons saw this he was whisked into the operating room and the coil was taken out with another catheter.

His PDA was going to have to be closed surgically. In the end they decided that if they were going in they might as well fix a few other things at the same time. So he ended up having open-heart surgery and a quick two-day visit to hospital turned into a month-long stay.

Fast forward three and a half years and another cardiac catheterisation. This time the heart side of it seemingly went very well. The right side of his heart has grown well meaning that the major replumbing work that we thought he’d need might not have to happen. He may get away with just closing up the remaining hole in his heart and heading off to live a long healthy life. But not quite yet. They are going to leave it for a couple of years and then go back in and see if that’s the right decision.

So a really positive outcome. The proposed fix is the best option we could have hoped for and should leave his heart as close to normal as possible giving him the best chance of a long happy life.

But Finlay being Finlay he wasn’t going to let that be the end of it. He seems to have a penchant for the dramatic. So while under the anaesthetic his lung collapsed and he is developing a chest infection. He seems to be in a bit of discomfort after the op but has managed to eat something and is on the mend. However his oxygen saturation is down and he is being given oxygen to help. He was supposed to be coming home tomorrow but the doctors are concerned about him flying following his collapsed lung so it may be after the weekend before he makes it home.

Looking just a little sorry for himself

Tomorrow I’ll have to sit down with his brothers and explain that Mummy and Finlay won’t be here when they get home from school. I’ll try to make it clear that he is going to be OK and just needs a bit more time to get better but it’s more difficult with them this time. For his first heart surgery the boys were much younger, more accepting of whatever we told them. Now they are more questioning, querying anything they don’t understand. Hopefully I can provide soothing answers to whatever questions they have.

Knowing my boys probably their first question will be ”Can we have pizza then?” And, guilt-wracked, I expect I’ll concede. Maybe comfort food is what we’ll need.

Hopefully I’ll give them all the answers they need to be positive about the situation. Because, despite everything, I am positive. His heart is doing well and the rest he can deal with. He’s come through tough times before and he will again. He’s a tough kid. He may have one dodgy gene but the other 23,000 are bloody good!

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