Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Hoping for a hospital-free 2008
Many of you know that my son was born with severe heart defects and that he has had five heart operations. As a result, February 14 means more to me than just flowers and candy and the warm goodness that surrounds people when they love each other. That's because February 14 is also Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. Heart defects are the number one birth defect, affecting one out of every hundred babies born. That's more than 40,000 in the United States every year.
All wrapped up with hearts and flowers and candy, February has become difficult. For the past two years, February was just a couple of weeks from extended (and sometimes unexpected) hospital stays and surgeries. I'm keeping my fingers that we won't be there again in a couple of weeks. Right now R seems to be doing great. Still, because there are so many unknowns that sort of linger the way the smell of antiseptic lingers in the hospital's air, it's hard to not believe that we'll be there again. It feels sort of like we have a standing appointment in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit this time of year. It's like I'm waiting for that one thing to go wrong that sends us there again. That rips Riley from his routine at preschool. That disrupts our immediate family's lives. That affects our extended family's lives as they fly in to support us.
See Father in Chief's blog for suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of kids affected with a congenial heart defect.