Surgery drawing near

We consider the benefits of the Fontan now versus later.

Get it? Drawing? Never mind.

After meeting with Namine’s cardiologist on Friday, we (by “we” I mean not only Jessica and myself, but also the cardiologist and, by extension, the cardiology team) have decided that she will have third stage of heart surgery, called the Fontan, by September at the latest. If all goes well, and if the surgical team’s schedule allows, then she’ll have the surgery as soon as early August.

To say that we want Namine to have the Fontan now, when she doesn’t really need it yet, is a strange thing. It is true, yet not true. Of course no parent really wants their child to have surgery; but we are trying to maintain the balance between Namine’s heart surgery and school. We had originally planned for Namine starting kindergarten in the fall. She could very well still do so; she is not in dire need of the Fontan yet, and she may even be able to go another whole year before she will.

In spite of this, there are a couple reasons we have for going ahead with the surgery now. The first is the unknowable future: Namine could go another year before needing the Fontan, but she might not. She is a good candidate for the procedure now, and we would prefer not to wait until she is in dire need. The second reason is school: we would have her wait a year before starting school, rather than starting school and potentially getting left behind while she recovers.

The post-Fontan recovery time in the hospital is about two weeks, but it will be much longer before she’s one hundred percent again. Considering that she uses her arms for nearly everything, she will not be able to wheel herself in her wheelchair, climb in and out of chairs, or any of that sort of thing for quite a while. We need to plan on a larger home recovery time, and she can begin school next year.

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