Stopping a beating heart

2012-03-14 14:23:23 by Sarah Plant, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

I’ve always loved reading. From the time I was little I have read anything I could get my hands on…books, magazines, ingredients in food, drinks, and even things like shampoo bottles.

Really, as long as there are words, I am reading. Unfortunately, that sometimes leaves me knowing more about things than I necessarily would like to.

While I was pregnant I decided to purge some of the extra things around our house, most of which ended up being books. I came across a book that I read five or six years ago, Walk on Water by Michael Ruhlman, and started reading it again.

The book, it seems, helped to greatly prepare me for the past 4 months of my life. It details, blow by blow, what life is like in the world of pediatric heart surgery.

It begins with cutting through a child’s sternum to expose her beating heart and describes the rest of what happens both before and after surgery in amazing detail, which is great…until it’s happing to your own child.

Since we didn’t know that Bekah had a congenital heart defect before she was born, the whole time I was reading the book I was doing just that – reading an interesting non-fiction book about pediatric heart problems. After we found out that she’d need open heart surgery, what I knew from reading the book made things a little tricky at first.

I knew more about what would happen than I wanted to – like how her sternum would be cut apart and how her heart would be stopped. While it was unnerving at first, after a little while I realized that through this whole process I have been glad to know as much as possible about what is going on inside of Rebekah’s little chest cavity.

Not only do I just plain like knowing things, but in the end it also helped me to calmly and patiently deal with all of the fears I had going into surgery … even the heart stopping ones.

Read the rest of Sarah and Rebekah’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.




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