That’s our new heart shape. It really doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t know how to read an ECG – electrocardiograph (a.k.a. EKG) recording. But, it means the world to me because this is the shape of Crash’s heartbeat when recorded by an ECG. If you know how to read these things, you’ll notice that’s it not normal. If you don’t know how to read it, I can tell you this is not what it’s supposed to look like.
If you haven’t yet read Crash’s arrival into this world, you can read With An Open Heart, here.
This past Wednesday we made a trip to the renowned IWK Children’s hospital in Halifax, three hours away. We’re country folk, so going to the big city is a big deal. We made sure to do a bit of shopping. But I’m not here to tell you about what we bought.
I’m here to tell you about what we saw.
Crash had TGA – Transposition of the Great Arteries. It’s just a fancy way of saying his aorta and pulmonary arteries were switched. At just 5 days old, a surgeon put them in their right places. This meant open heart surgery, bypass machines, and a 16 day stay in the hospital.
Flash forward 8 years and he gets his routine check up only once every two years. While this is good news as it means he’s doing well, it makes his mother and I a bit nervous going that long between check-ups. These check-ups aren’t for him. They’re for his parents’ peace of mind.
Anyway, upon our arrival at the IWK, they take us to a small doctor’s room where his cardiologist comes to talk to us. He simply wants to know if we have any concerns. He asks Crash if he’s had problems with dizziness or fainting (nope). If he’s had problems with chest pain while exercising (nope). Then Crash is off to be measured.
He’s 35 kg (77 lbs) and 44 inches tall. No failure to thrive here. Then he gets stickered up for the ECG. We joked with him and called him robot baby like we did when he was just an infant and hooked up to a bazillion monitors. A minute later and was done. I barely had time to get this picture with the phone.
Then we were sent back to the room where we first spoke with the cardiologist. He informed us that all looked good. While the ECG wasn’t “normal” it was normal for him. No surprise. We always knew his version of normal wasn’t quite like everyone else. DW had the great idea to ask for a copy of Crash’s ECG. Then she mentioned making a tattoo out of it. You betcha! We now have a physical copy of our son’s heartbeat. I can hold his heart in my hands. I can wear his heart on my sleeve.
From there we went to yet another room for an echocardiogram.
When his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched 8 years ago, some stretching occurred (as was expected). Imagine what happens when you stretch a hose. I narrows. This was what they were looking at in the echo. They were making sure those arteries hadn’t narrowed further and that blood was flowing properly. Again, when I say properly I mean properly for someone with TGA. To our great relief, all was “normal”.
He even got cleared to join Tae Kwon Do.
Then Crash asked for a picture with Dr. Wong. Perhaps a hero. Or, at least, an idol. Crash wants it printed and put in a golden frame.