How to draw a heart

2012-02-22 11:23:53 by Sarah Plant, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

The first time we met Dr. Vande Kappelle was on November 14, 2011. Two day old Rebekah was sedated, hooked to more machines than I thought could be connected to anyone, let alone someone so very small, and we were just hoping to hear something, anything about what may be wrong with her.

Dr. Vande Kappelle looked at the echocardiogram images, and then used the machine himself. A few minutes later we were told that she needed transported to Akron.

We were taken into a room to sign some papers, and Dr. Vande Kappelle came in to explain to us what he had seen.

I will always be thankful for the way he treated us with kindness and respect. As we sat with him, he flipped over a piece of paper and drew an incredible picture of a normal heart, explaining how it worked as he drew.  He then used it to explain what Bekah’s heart looked like.

Our first question was what happens now, and I remember how he calmly explained that from what he was seeing, her lungs were really the biggest problem and her heart could probably wait…at least a few months.

We’ve seen Dr. Vande Kappelle off and on since then.

He stopped by to see us a few times while Bekah was in the NICU at Akron Children's Hospital, and we’ve gone to the Heart Center in Boardman twice to see him since we’ve been home.

Each time I see him I remember with gratitude the way he took his time answering all of our questions that very first day.

At our first appointment in Boardman, after looking at yet another echocardiogram, Dr. Vande Kappelle drew us another picture, and then said that there are still some underlying lung problems to contend with, which may in the long run make her recovery from surgery more difficult.

Time may be the best cure for the lung problem, yet her lungs are one reason for hastening heart surgery in the first place since it’s the pressure going from her heart into her lungs that will eventually cause the most long-term damage if left untreated.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves us appreciative for the advice of Bekah’s doctors and their expertise. It leaves us trusting God, Bekah’s doctors, and each other, and hoping for the very best for one very special little girl.

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



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