Monday, March 03, 2008


No sarcasm today.

No funny.

We have a friend who's son is now having his second heart transplant.

I don't even know if I should be typing this, but I don't care. I might be over-stepping my bounds, invading, I don't know. I just want others to think.

Actually, I just want to write. It's selfish. I can feel this weighing on everybody and I don't know what to do. So I write.

Moving forward...

At twelve days old, our friend's son contracted an infection. It spread throughout his body and he was was admitted to the hospital. It's attacking his heart.

The infection has a long name that I've long-since forgotten, but the child's father is (now) one of the foremost experts on the subject. The virus wasn't a a consequence of Ebola or exposure or SARS or something so was from dirty hands. Dirty hands!

Somebody, maybe a nurse or friend or family member or doctor had one tiny germ that completely corrupted this child's heart. One nanospeck of a piece of dust.

This isn't me blaming, I'm just me stating odds. It could have been any family's baby. It could have been me as a baby. It could have been you. It just kills me to know that an extra dash of soap or an extra second at the sink could have prevented this. Odds. Bad odds.

Can you imagine? With his boy at two weeks old, our friend found out that his son had reached half-life. Two weeks to live. Without a heart transplant, he wouldn't make it. I don't think my ears would be able hear those brain wouldn't understand.

He told us all of this over a couple of beers at the Pointe and we could barely keep ourselves together. It was just the three of us, sitting in a bar talking about various ins and outs of his new life: odds, Purel, waiting lists, procedures, parenthood, hope, anxiety, love. It was surreal. He was living by another watch.

Our friend couldn't sleep from 2:00am to 4:00am (the doctor told him that that's when 99% of all transplant calls come in). He now carried vats of hand sanitizer and only shook hands with gloves on. He couldn't stop reading. His life is now upside down and there is nothing he can do other than rest, stay clean, and study up. In is the new out, up is now down. Everything is spinning and beyond his control.

He spoke to us with faith and fear, anxiety and optimism. The weight of the situation enunciated with each and every syllable, every word, heavier than the one before it, now lighter with it exposed. It was heart wrenching because you could feel him reaching as he talked, almost grabbing, like he was trying to stabilize his life with his voice. The more detailed he became, the more he was able to his words were training wheels.


Emotionally-long story short...

The call came in that night that his son had a heart (like he thought it would be, at 3:30 in the morning). It's always difficult to celebrate, because you're forced to look at both sides of the equation. That call is inevitably a victory for one family, and a tragedy for the other.

It was to be the third heart transplant in the history of Children's Hospital. New ground. We relaxed a bit, crossed our fingers, and prayed it would take. Everything seemed to be going well.


He started out OK but when they took him off of life support, he began to fail. The heart was not taking and the virus was winning. Everybody took a step back. The odds of another heart were beyond slim.

Miraculously, they received a call and his son was taken to surgery. The chances were staggering, but it looked like his son was going to have HALF of the heart transplants EVER performed at Children's. None of us could believe it. Please.


That was two days ago.

He's now in ICU. Rachel called earlier today and that's all they could say. We're still waiting for friends to call with some kind of an inside update, but we've yet to hear anything. And the last thing we want to do in a situation like this is prod.

I wish I could give better news. Actually I wish I didn't need to share any of this with any of this, but like I said I'm selfish. I told Rachel (yesterday) that I don't think I would be able to make it through something like this. I would have cursed numerous people/places/entities. I would have been angry. I would have imploded. I would have cut a lot of people off. I'm sure of it.

Our friend and his family are so strong. They're amazing. That's why I wanted to put this out there. I hope I haven't over-stepped, but I probably did. If any of you think so, give me a call and I'll take the post down.

Please, just think about this little guy today. Think about his mom and dad. And if you are a parent, hug your child. If you are devout, please pray. Suggestion, prayer, hope, belief. Optimism is very powerful.


the larsons said...

James, our hearts go out to these parents and we will of course pray for this infant boy's health. That story made me cry. I will kiss my girls one extra time tonight when I check on them before I sleep.

hepcatrayo said...

James, we'll be thinking about the little guy. We're all pulling for him. And I will resist the urge to buy Henry a hermetically-sealed bubble: instead, we'll just make sure to soak up every minute.