Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Hearts Doctors

As I said a few weeks ago, part of the Aaron coming-into-the-world drama involved a two day stay in the NICU. His heart rate was dipping a little too low for comfort.  It was definitely stressful to see my newborn baby all hooked up to machinery...

... but the Oxycodone helped.

Anyway, after being discharged from the NICU, L and I were given two tasks.  One was to get an EKG ourselves to make sure we didn't have any heart conditions that might be genetic.  We both passed.  The next was to schedule an appointment with an pediatric cardiologist to follow up with Aaron between four and six weeks.

Friday, at five weeks and one day, we had our appointment.  Keep in mind that my little boy now weighs OVER NINE POUNDS and I am feeling pretty good in terms of keeping him alive and stuff.  I also have a wonderful cousin who happens to be a pediatric cardiologist herself, and she set my mind at ease when I told her about what was going on by telling me that babies often outgrow these types of things.  So I strolled into the doctor's office prepared to be told that all was well.

Here's how it went down:

Dr P., while listening to Aaron's heart:  'Yeah.  I hear something.'

Me:  'What?'

Dr. P is silent, still listening.  'Hmph.'  Gestures to first year med student at his side.  'Listen to this, do you hear it?'

Me, sweat beginning to form under armpits:  'What?'

Med Student:  'Yes, I hear it.'

Me, feeling my lunch churn.  'WHAT?'

Dr. P, while gathering his papers and heading out of the room.  'I'm going to go get him scheduled for an echocardiogram today. Probably some type of hole in his heart, but blah blah blah...'

Honestly, I didn't hear the rest.  My legs were about to give out on me.  A. HOLE. IN. HIS. HEART??? As Super Grover would say.... 'Habba-WHA?'

Thankfully, when Dr. P left the room he also left his first year med student behind, who happened to be sweet and very smart.  When I told him I was about to pass out right there in the middle of the room, he told us that a small hole in the heart is fairly common and not cause for alarm.  If he had not explained that to me, I might still be a puddle on the floor of that doctor's office.

When Dr. P came back into the room, he told us Aaron was ready for his echocardiogram.  I'd finally swallowed the boulder in my throat and regained my woman-in-her-thirties voice:

Me:  'So it's going to be okay, right?  Even if it is a...hole in his heart?'

Dr. P looked at me strangely, like I'd just asked him if it was okay to order a Coke versus a Pepsi.  'Sure', he said.  'It's like having a freckle on your skin.  No big deal.'


Long story short, A-Rod doesn't have a hole in his heart at all.  He has Patent Ductus Arteriosus, which sounds really scary but actually is no big whoop.  It will probably fix itself in a year, and if it doesn't the procedure to fix it is quick and easy.

I have always said that if I had been born smarter, I would want to be a doctor.  I'm guessing that a woman in her thirties who can't remember how to add fractions probably doesn't belong in a white coat.  However, considering all the doctor visits over the last year or so, I do know one thing:  Doctors are awesome, but they don't know everything.  No one does.

What matters is that Aaron is all set to resume his Jedi training:

And a woman in her thirties breathes another sigh of relief.  


  1. Aggghh! I can't believe that that doctor thought it was ok to mention "whole in the heart" without explaining it was no big deal! You did great, Mom:)

  2. 1. That picture is awesome.

    2. A-Rod. Haha!!!

    3. Keeping you guys in our prayers-- for at least the next 18 years, maybe longer.

  3. Oh heavens! Been there and done that too... Jacques was a little older when a medical student discovered a problem and sent us to the peds cardio. The crazy part in our story is the cardio was more concerned about his head circumference than his heart! Talk about freaking out! Glad to hear that your padawan learner is doing great, despite the heart freckle! And yes, doctors do not even come close to knowing everything, and many lack any form of a bedside manner... that became blatantly obvious when getting diagnosed with ALS!

  4. Glad everything is ok and congrats on number two!