I’m sipping tea at the dining room table. Charlotte is upstairs–first day of winter break–doing who knows what. I look at the clock: 9:17 a.m., exactly the time a year ago today Dr. Backer made the first incision in Charlotte’s third open heart surgery. It’s been 365 days. Charlotte hasn’t given it a second thought. Her scars will be neatly hidden beneath warm clothes today, and she’s mostly focused on whether she can convince me to go to a toy store. But, I’m sure I won’t stop thinking about it all day. About how lucky we’ve been in her outcomes so far.
I thought I’d share our final update from the surgical waiting room because it begins with the most unlikely of images, a smiling surgeon.
February 11, 2015, Update #4: Dr. Backer stopped by about 30 minutes ago, coffee in hand, imprint from surgical cap still on his forehead, and grin on his face.
Bottom line: Charlotte is out of surgery and he is happy with the results. As he was talking, the surgical team was getting ready to bring Charlotte up to the CCU. We should be able to see her in an hour.
If you don’t need details, you can stop reading there! If you want more, read on:
The doctor replaced her 16mm Dacron conduit and valve with a 22mm conduit and valve. That means that she has a valve the approximate size of mine. He said that the new valve (her last one was placed in 2007) are made better than the old ones. And it is big enough that there is a good chance that a valve replacement, if needed, might be done via catheter procedure. No one can say for sure that this is her last open heart surgery, but this one went as well as can be expected.
p.s. The new valve is still a “piggy valve,” so kiddo will still be able to snort when she laughs.
—American Academy of Pediatrics Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium