Saturday, April 17, 2010


Yesterday Luna and I ventured into Boston for her day of pre-cath/pre-Fontan labs. The day was long, the traffic crummy, the weather crummier.

But the doctors, nurses and other specialists at the hospital always make it right. This time, just as we were leaving, a woman came rushing into the waiting room. In her arms, boxed toys were piled high above her chin. Luna managed to grab a Little People Pirate set just as we were leaving.

Luna had X-Rays, blood work, EKG, weight, height, vitals and blood oxygen saturation's, AKA sats, taken. So far, everything looks fine.

But mysteriously her sats are up. WAY up. Luna, very gingerly and sweetly offered up her index finger so the cardiac assistant could fasten a tiny sensor on her appendage. Luna held her hand perfectly steady, and immediately the blood saturation meter took it's read. A steady '94' glared on the machine. There are people out there, who have zero heart issues who might read that. The most anyone can read is 100.

The 'sats', probably more than any other vital, is what keeps us heart parents on our toes. Dropping sats and in for a cath our kids go. High sats, and in for a cath they go.

The catheter fellow I spoke with thought that perhaps she had a venous collateral. Collateral are like streams. The body, in Luna's case, with it's tricked-out circulatory system, gets hungry for oxygen. The result is tributaries shoot off the main veins, and shoot up to the lungs, or sometimes down into other organs, in effort to give the body more oxygen. But really it's not effective, and if we let all these collaterals jump ship off their main rivers, the entire body and all it's organs would not be supported.

I asked the cath fellow a hypothetical question: if Luna's sats are high enough, why even move forward with the Fontan? He explained that the body would be fine with partial circulatory; as is Luna is now, but after say 10 years of this, one would run the risk of stroke, or maybe even death. One main reason, that her lower circulatory system skips her kidneys, which is a natural filter for things like small clots. Blood clots, even those that can only been seen under a microscope, can still cause a lot of grief. Stroke probably being the biggest risk.

Come Tuesday we'll find out if any rebel branches have shot off the main rivers to find recluse on other parts of Luna's body. Luna is 'first case', which means we only have to starve her till 7:30 am-at which time, baring-and fingers crossed-no emergency case bumps her out for a later slot-she'll be given the 'happy juice' before she is brought back for the 3-4 hour procedure. If the doctors find any pesky collaterals, they'll be given a good blast of heat-where upon they will recoil into their submission, bringing Luna's circulatory system back to it's pre-Fontan normalcy.

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