2012 Change Bandit Spotlight: Staff becomes family

2012-01-30 16:26:18 by Theresa Attalla, PR Intern, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

Tiffini Wright told her son Dominic’s story during the 2011 Radiothon, and this year, she’s signed up as a Change Bandit to raise money in support of Akron Children’s Hospital, which airs Feb. 9-11 on 98.1 WKDD. Here, she shares how Akron Children’s became a part of her family.

On March 16, 2010, I had an emergency C-section to deliver our son, Dominic, who was born five weeks early and weighed 4 lbs. 11 oz. He cried only two short breaths before he was whisked away.

We later found out he was undiagnosed during pregnancy with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect in which the aorta and pulmonary artery are switched, making it very difficult to get oxygen. Those two short cries were the only air he had.

Dominic was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital from Aultman shortly after he received a life sustaining procedure in Aultman’s cath lab. The doctors and nurses wanted to wait a few weeks before they performed surgery in order to let him grow, but this didn’t happen. He was in the NICU for 10 days when he went into congestive heart failure.

On the day of his heart surgery to correct the switched vessels,  all the nurses that cared for my son came to see us. My husband, Andy, and I sobbed. We didn’t know what would happen. We later found out that Dominic was the smallest transposition correction patient ever operated on at Akron Children’s.

The next 10 days were rough. A parent should never have to learn the terms we heard during our son’s hospitalization. The monitors, machines, numbers and beeps took its toll. They told us not to look at the numbers. “We’ll make these numbers do what we need them to do,” they said.  And they did.

The staff became our family away from home. The nurses often gave me food from their own lunches because of their concern for me. Dr. Spector took the time to discuss any and all questions and concerns that we might have, and Dr. Patel was an amazing to us, too. Eight long days passed in the NICU before we could take Dominic home, but before we left, we met with Dr. Bockoven, Dominic’s cardiologist.

Dr. Bockoven told me we would all become a family, and he would be available to us anytime we needed him. He has stood by that promise. I could not have asked for a more amazing man to care for our son and his heart.

Now, Dominic is almost two, and we only need an echocardiogram once a year. Akron Children’s was home for a terrifying time in our lives, and we are so grateful for every second of every day. Dominic will be raised knowing this isn’t about him; it’s about the next family that needs our help.

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