Monday, November 19, 2012

Heartsick

 Oh my do I ever have a story to tell...this may be a long post...
It all began on Wednesday morning when Bridger woke up looking tired and his throat was hoarse. I felt his head and it was not hot so we talked about if he should stay home from school or not.  I wanted to keep him with me but he has already missed 4 days this year for ear aches or not feeling well and I worried about keeping him home too much.  He said he thought he could go, so I sent him to school with some cough drops in a bag and a note for his teacher.  I told her he seemed tired and was losing his voice, that he may be getting sick.  Would she call me if he seemed worse and I would come and get him.  Well around 10 she called to say that he just didn't seem well.  He did not have a fever but she was worried about him.  She said she could tell that he was not feeling very good.  I AM SO THANKFUL for this sweet, caring teacher! Mrs Devaney was our first angel of the day. I love her:) 

 I brought him home and put him in some jammies and was about to set him up with blankets on the couch for a movie when I thought maybe he was a bit wheezy and when I hugged him I could feel his heart beating so hard.  I wasn't really worried but my first thought was croup and a fever was coming on (my kiids always have fast heart rates when fevering)--and knowing that it gets worse at night, I decided to take him to an instacare close to my house.  Once again I feel like we were watched over and protected. The PA (another angel) was so careful and thorough.  She noticed his heart seemed to be fast--and said "oh Mom he may not have a fever now, but I think it is coming on fast, his heart is really beating!"  She could have just sent us home with some medicine but she had her nurse get him some ibuprofen and checked his heart again after awhile. She ended up getting out the EKG machine --which is what is pictured above to test further.  All the while she is being so professional, I wasn't worried or stressed at all.  I honestly thought they must be really slow today and bored.  I took a picture to show him how cool it looked--to try and cheer him up.  When the PA working the machine could see the results from the EKG  she kind of freaked out. She said something about needles and being really sick and that she was calling an ambulance right now because he needed to be at the ER immediately . This made Bridger cry and I was kind of mad.
I still thought she is just over reacting and making his heart rate climb with saying that.  While we waited a few minutes for the ambulance he was on my lap and his heart seemed to be not as fast. I was thinking that this was a little silly to call an ambulance. As they loaded him in,  I took this little picture of my sweet boy so later he could show his brothers.  When the ambulance doors closed, I told the paramedics that I really wasn't sure this was necessary and that I thought the PA over reacted.  I explained how she had mentioned needles and how I was pretty sure that is what made his heart rate spike.  So they kindly listened to me while they hooked him up to the monitors and told me they would see what was going on. At first the numbers were normal --89...90 and then they just started climbing when his heart rate hit 248 they very calmly told me that yes they really did think it was a good idea to take him now.  I was still just feeling so confused and maybe that was good because I was able to stay calm for Bridger.
 They started an IV in the ambulance and soon we were at the ER at TC Thompsons Children's hospital in downtown Chattanooga.  I had learned on the ride over that his heartbeat should be around 80-100 beats a minute but his was climbing up over 220 (this is called SVT SupraventicularTachycardia)  He was going up as high as 268 and when the paramedic asked him if his heart hurt or felt funny when it was peaking, he would say no!!  This was a little disturbing that he couldn't feel it.  When we got to the ER I was starting to worry, but still not really aware of how dangerous this was.  I think it was a blessing from heaven that I was able to be calm which I am sure was important for Bridger to feel that his Mom was not too worried. I know how children really pick up on the emotions of their parents. 
 To make a long story short...after a few hours, many different doctors, chest xrays, echo cardiograms, EKGs, blood work, urine samples, endless questions and different drugs...we were eventually admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  His little heart was not just having an episode of SVT (fairly common) but would not kick out of it no matter what they did (very rare).  At this point they were just masking the problem with medication.

It was such a HUGE relief when Daddy got there.  He was at work over an hour away but came as quick as he could. ( By the time I took this picture he had been with us for hours)

Another EKG--what a trooper!

We spent a couple of LONG nights in the PICU.  I tell you , I really don't think I slept a wink.  With my sweet little boy hooked up to so many machines and all the beeping was truly a frightening place for a Momma.  I remember sitting there holding his little hand while he slept and my heart hurt so much I was sure it would break.
Another EKG~ I think he had a gazillion of these tests.  He was so brave, he kept wanting me to get a picture to show his brothers:)  I felt this sense of peace as I knew that he was in God's hands.  So many people were praying for him and he had received a priesthood blessing from his Daddy and our wonderful Bishop.  I really felt the spirit of God and His love for Bridger and me.  I knew He was aware of us and loved us. 
We soon found out that he had a dangerous heart condition called Persistent (permanent) Junctional Reciprocating Tachycardia (PJRT). .This is an unusual form of supra ventricular tachycardia (SVT) --in fact less than 1% of people with SVT have this form of the disorder.  While usually SVT  sufferers have episodes, Bridger's heart was now permanently in it.  Left untreated it would result in heart failure. It had  been a really frightening past few days. Even with the medication, his heart rate had been spiking to over 230 and then droping to 50-60 (It should be 80-100). They were trying to get it under control so that there would be no more damage to the heart and possibility of heart failure. I was told that once they stabilized the condition (control the arrhythmia) he would need a procedure called an ablation. This is when they would thread thin little wires up through a blood vessel in his groin and guide them into his heart. Then a machine sends energy to his heart via one of the catheters. The energy destroys small areas of heart tissue where abnormal heartbeats are causing an arrhythmia to begin. 
One great blessing is that the leading specialist in this area of cardiac medicine  (pediatric electrophysiology) in all of the U.S. is at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville (just a couple of hours away) so he had been consulting with Bridger's cardiologist and helped with the diagnosis and treatment. He will perform the surgery and our cardiologist kept telling us how lucky we are to have the BEST of the best doing this  procedure for Bridger.  I can't help but feel that Heavenly Father has been watching over this little guy. 
On Friday evening we were given the OK to leave the PICU for a regular room in the hospital. 
Bridger was so glad!  Happy day knowing there would be less cords and monitors attached now:)
He didn't get to lose the heart monitor though--in fact he had to carry that himself to his new room!  I think he may have had the worlds BEST nurses and Doctors in the PICU.  I felt like he was surrounded with such loving care.  I was so grateful.
In the regular room, his brothers were allowed to come for a visit and he was thrilled!  These brothers sure love this boy and had missed him like crazy!

After another night and more EKGs , echos and consultations with Drs he was allowed to go home until his surgery in about 10 days.  They trained me in how to check his heart rate and give him his medicine.  I am now nurse Mommy:)
We couldn't be happier to have our boy back home.  Brad and I brought his mattress down to our room where we can keep him close and easily give his middle of the night dosages.  He is feeling so good now that it is a little hard to keep him down.  ( I am not complaining) His cardiologists wants him to rest as much as possible and not go out in public where he could pick up an illness (no school or church etc).  They are hoping to improve his heart function before the procedure. 

I can not even describe my deep sense of gratitude for all the blessing and miracles I feel like we have experienced this last week.  Now I am content to watch over and care for my little one at home--trying to soak up and enjoy these quiet and slow days together.  I mean really, how often would I get all this one on one time to hang out with my usually busy 7 year old? He would normally spend his days off at school and playing outside, too busy to snuggle up reading books, playing games and chatting with his Mother.  That is definitely the silver lining in all of these dark clouds and I will take it:)

22 comments:

Amy said...

Wow, what a frightening experience!! I am glad he is home now and that surgery isn't too far off. Keep us posted!! Amy ()

Sterzers said...

We've been thinking of your family!!! Glad for the update and we will keep you all in our prayers. We're glad he is feeling better. Sounds like he is in great hands!!!

Anonymous said...

Though we don't know Bridger please know that we will be praying for him and for your family.

with much love,
Selander family

Cheryl said...

I have been following your blog for awhile, and just want to let you know I will be praying for you all. Your faith in God continues to be an inspiration.

Célia said...

Hi Melanie! I have a seven year old son and I work in a cahtlab as a cardiology technician.
Your story really moved me, as a mother and professional.
Children are amazing patients, in no time he will be back to is usual busy life.
I will be thinking of Bridger and all your family.
Célia

Jo Jo said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. No matter how many miracles, it still is an exhausting experience for you as a mother. Isn't the gospel such a blessing!

Linda Carrion said...

Prayers for you and your family! Thank you for keep us all updated via your blog.

Amy said...

What a little trooper! We have been thinking of you guys and you are all in our prayers. Love you tons!!!

Heather said...

So happy you were blessed with the right people to help you.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know we will be praying for your little guy and your family. What a scary thing you have all been through!!

Jodi Ludlow said...

Hi Mel,
So sorry to hear about your sweet little Bridger. We had a scare with our 12- year old last year, so I know all the emotions you've been going through. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there.

Love,
Jodi

Jodi said...

I don't know you, but I follow your blog! I will be praying for your little man. I too am a heart mom and it can be very scary at times. My little man is now almost four, and he has Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). I wish you the best with his surgery!

PixieGirl said...

Oh my darling, I will pray for you and your sweet boy!

Laura Ayers said...

Jeez Mel- I can't believe what you all have been through. Poor little Bridger :( I'm glad that he had so many angels looking over him & hope that continues. I can't wait to see you in February & hopefully you can get a little Momma break. Loves to your family, especially Bridger xoxoxo

Jessie said...

I'm a long-time reader of Sisters Cafe and clicked over from your post. I've had two cardiac ablations done this year - the second one was just two weeks ago and was, thankfully, a success. My condition wasn't nearly as serious as your son's, but I was having black-out episodes during my SVT attacks so it was a worry that I'd pass out while driving. Here's a link to my first post on it (there are links to all subsequent posts at the end):

http://jessica-jensen.blogspot.com/2012/06/sacking-tach-part-1-of.html

If you don't read, the summary of it all is that the ablation was nowhere NEAR as scary as I thought it would be (I stressed over it for YEARS), and now I'm fixed, and I didn't have any pain or complications or anything, and I was back to work within days of the operation. I'm sure it will go well for your son! Good luck!

Elizabeth said...

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

Marnie said...

I sure love you and your sweet family. What a blessing that you were able to diagnose this in a timely manner and that Bridger was able to get the help he needed. We will continue to pray for him and your family. Please keep us updated.

Z. said...

My dear internet friend- I'm so sorry to hear about all your little guy has been through. I'm glad blessings have come your way. Bridger is sure a brave boy and you're a brave mommy for being so calm during it all. Good luck with the surgery. Thanks for all you do to share your faith and gratitude in spite of life's challenges. Hugs from a distance.
Zella Marie

Heidi said...

Thank goodness for the miracles of medicine and the tender mercies of the Lord. Thank you for sharing your and Bridger's experience- your positive attitude strenghtens my mother heart.
Love and prayers to you and Bridger and the rest of your family for strength in the coming days and weeks!

Brittany said...

Oh Mel I cried through that whole post. Mostly because I can only imagine how scary that would be as a mother. :( But I'm so happy and positive about everything. Bridger is such a brave, strong little guy - he will pull through this with all the prayers and faith of family and friends. I know HF is watching over your sweet family. love you so much sis! xoxoxo

Mindy said...

I love how Bridger wanted you to take pictures to show his brothers, and how he was so happy when his brothers could come see him. I have always felt such strength from my sisterhood. Literally physical and emotional strength and well being. I'm glad Bridger has that with his brothers. This has been a rollercoaster ride that I hope you will be able to get off of soon. I love Bridger and you!

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