Why they whisked me away

I heard mommy and daddy talking with one of my doctors, he is the cool man with red hi-top tennis shoes.  His name is Dr. Wommack,


and he was telling my mommy and daddy that I would need to have surgery soon and that my life was dependent on this surgery.  I would gradually breathe harder and harder until my surgery.  I heard my daddy say “We will do anything and everything to give Joseph a good life.”  Mommy readily agreed!  This is what he explained to them.  Joseph has Truncus arteriosus and possibly a bad valve as well.  Further tests and scans of the heart would tell them more.

Truncus arteriosus (TRUNG-kus ahr-teer-e-O-sus), or persistent truncus arteriosus, is a rare heart defect that’s present at birth (congenital). If your baby has truncus arteriosus, one large vessel, instead of two separate vessels, leads out of the heart. Also, the two lower chambers of the heart are missing a portion of the wall dividing them. As a result of truncus arteriosus, oxygen-poor blood that should go to the lungs and oxygen-rich blood that should go to the rest of the body are mixed together. This creates severe circulatory problems.Truncus-Arteriosus

If left untreated, truncus arteriosus is usually fatal. Surgery to repair the heart and blood vessels is generally successful, especially if the repair occurs before your baby is 2 months old. Attentively, Dr. Reddy, Joseph’s Surgeon stated usually they prefer to do these surgeries within the first week of Birth.  Since, the replaced parts of the heart do not grow, further surgeries will be necessary.  Usually when the child is 2-3 years old and if no complications arise will bring them to early teen years.  After this, another open heart surgery will bring the child to young adulthood and older.

He would contact Stanford Children’s hospital and do his best to get a quick date for this emergency surgery.  It was Christmas and New Years so most likely many of the surgeons and their teams would be home for the holidays.  They talked amongst themselves for a long time.  My first time to see this new world and I have to spend it away from mommy and daddy.  Mommy did come and visit me every few hours to try and feed me and daddy took care of my older brother so they went home in the evenings.  Poor Mommy, After a good sleep and all that work I was sure hungry and I didn’t give her too much time to rest.  Daddy would try to let her rest when he could.

So many things went through mommy and daddy’s mind at this time.  How could this happen.  Why to their son.  Will I survive?  Am I strong enough to handle open heart surgery.  Work, what will they say? How will they get to Palo Alto California? Such a long drive from Idaho, will the insurance cover me?  How will they pay for everything?  I have to hand it to my folks though, these thoughts never slowed down any event that needed to be done to save my life.

They love me, that’s for sure and I sure do love them!

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Father of Joseph

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