Yes...Russell's Heart Cath is on Monday. If memory serves me correctly this is heart cath number 7. This is always a very long day. Because Russell is still pretty young the have to put him under full anaesthesia. Our day will start very early in the morning. We'll probably arrive at Children's Hospital at about 6:00AM. Russell will be heading into the Cath Lab about 7:45. They usually spend most of the morning working on him and he usually heads up to PACU around lunch time. During those hours Russell's heart is poked and prodded....literally. It's quite amazing to think that they thread a tiny catheter right into his heart and perform a bunch of tests. They measure pressures...they pump him full of fluid to see how his heart performs. They inject dye into him so they can see visually how the heart is performing. Finally, they do a biopsy at the graft site; where new heart meets Russell OEM equipment. The tissue they take in the biopsy is sent to Edmonton where it is analyzed for any indication of rejection of the donor heart. After we head up to PACU...we usually send an hour or so recovering and letting Russell wake up. There is an internal policy that we must stay in the hospital 6 hours after he wakes up before we can be discharged. So, they ship us up to Day Surgery to hang out and get the boy up and running. We usually make our escape around 7:00 in the evening. A very long day.
I mentioned that this is not our first heart cath; far from it. However, we are still very apprehensive about these procedures. There is some significant risk to this kind of "mucking around" they do to the heart. The doctors may not describe this as high risk but we, as parents, certainly would. We have never had an issue during a cath...but we know several people who have. It is stressful. There is also the added stress of; "what if they find something"..."what if there is rejection"? I don't think we will ever get to the point where we don't worry.
Our experience doing Cath Day has always been different. We don't have a 1 year old baby any more. He is now a very active 5 year old. We are dealing with a very different person now. So our experience on Monday will no doubt be a bit different from our previous trips. Having done this a few times; we are very familiar with the process and know most of the steps. It is a big advantage to know what is going on and what to expect. I think most negative hospital experiences have something to do with some kind of communication breakdown and losing touch with what is going on. Being "in the dark" can be a scary and frustrating feeling. The folks at Variety take really good care of us and they are so approachable. It really gives us a huge sense of security to be working with people we know so well.
So, here we go again on another adventure.