Saturday, January 17, 2009


Yesterday, Jordan was scheduled for his yearly heart annual. This is a procedure that biopsies portions of his left and right ventricles to assess whether there are any symptoms of rejection, among other things.

The good news is that the procedure is over, pending results. The bad news is I've reached a level of frustration with this hospital that I can't justify anymore. As usual, it was an awful day. I can live with that. I can live with the inconveniences, the tears, the general unpleasantness of the ordeal. But what I can't live with is putting my son at risk.

Long story short - yesterday, after a lengthy delay, they surgical team brought Jordan into the OR, and while we watched, put him under anesthesia. We left. An hour or so later, a doctor rushes into the waiting room to inform us that because the OR's computers were not working, they would not be doing a full biopsy, so they were moving Jordan to another room and doing a partial biopsy, and maybe the next time we brought him in, they could do a full annual.

Then he rushed out. It took me a minute to process what he was saying. And then it occurred to me. Without confirming that the equipment in the OR was operational, they brought my son in there, put him under anesthesia, and began a procedure on him. During the process, at some point, they discovered the equipment was not working, and so they made a judgement call to physically move him into another operating theatre, do a partial biopsy, and delay the full annual until another day.

I'm livid.

Is it too much to ask to confirm that your tools are in order before you cut someone up, gas him, and remove small portions of his heart for study? I think not. Putting anyone under anesthesia is a risk. Doing it with a four-year old, without ensuring that your surgical computer station is working is shameless to me. I do not know what kind of protocol or surgical checklist the head cardiologist should do before beginning a biopsy - but whatever it may have been, it was not done here.

Am I asking for too much here? Am I being unreasonable? I might be able to dismiss the incident, if this was the first time something like this has happened to us. But it isn't! There was another time Jordan went in for a biopsy, and after waiting for hours, the doctor came out to tell us that they had gotten a late start because "the computers weren't working."

I can live with malfunctioning computers if all we're talking about is some stored Word documents. I can't live with it when my son is laying unconscious on an operating table.

I'm deciding what the best approach is to discussing the situation with his doctors.

Yesterday, we had bigger problems to deal with than an all-out confrontation in the middle of the cath lab. We had to take care of our son, who was miserable when he came back into recovery. As usual, he was exhausted, nauseous, coughing, covered in cathodes and hooked up to an IV. Once he awoke, he was groggy. We brought him home, and after 18 hours, he finally ate something. He went to bed early.

We've been through this enough times to know that he would be better in the morning. The worst was behind us. We moved on to happier things - celebrating Michael's birthday.

We tried to forget about the day at Morton's Steakhouse. It was a well-needed break; and the restaurant did a marvelous job at making the guest of honor feel special. Even the menu wished him well!

The restaurant offers cute little touches, like providing free birthday pictures of the table as souvenirs.

And did I mention, they are free! I'm usually such a sucker for the picture thing at places. It was nice to have a small token, gratis.

The food was fantastic. And I am a big steak fan. I've eaten at some of the best steak restaurants in NYC. The job they did at Morton's ranked right up there. Trust me, I was shocked, because it's a chain restaurant. Not my usual thing.

We tried very hard to avoid talking about the morning. Sometimes it seems like there's just nothing to say.

In the morning, Jordan was back to normal.

We celebrated by throwing him into the bounce house, along with his sister, and laughing at them, caged like two animals. Judging from his activity level, I think he was feeling fine. He ate well all morning, ran around like a maniac, napped, and didn't mention the hospital once.

Jordan and Grandma turned to quieter activities as the evening approached. Here they're playing with the sun catchers and trying to make the suction cups stay put on the cold glass.

Apart from the small incision site in his groin, and the residue of seven cathode stickers all over his torso, you'd never know he'd been through anything.

That's good.

Tomorrow is a big day. Jordan's turning four! We'll be having a party in the afternoon at a local kid party place. He's been looking forward to it for weeks. And to get the day started off right, we'll have a special breakfast in the morning. We set the table tonight, so he'll be surprised when he comes downstairs.

Jeff insists he's sticking with pancakes tomorrow,even though it's the same thing he eats every other day. Why mess with what works?

I hope tomorrow will be a great day for him - he deserves it.
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