9 Months After Surgery

It seems like a distant memory now. It’s hard to believe what all my little boy has undergone. His scar is fading away and we are happy to be moving onward. The most anxious and worry filled months are behind us now. Those moments were tough and it was like my body went into autopilot and somehow I was able to remain strong and calm. It was as if someone else was filling me with strength. The prayers from family and friends were surly the cause. It’s funny how you just manage. Watson is doing so great. I’m so proud of how his personality has remained unchanged. He’s developing into a confident little man and I could not be happier for him. We are all stronger now.

Here’s a video of Watson 3 days after surgery. His chest tube is still in place and you can see the collection tank we had to carry around with him for 4 days that measured his drainage. His arm was still wrapped up with IV’s in place. He even had one you can see in his neck. Despite all this he was able to enjoy being pushed around the hallways outside of his hospital room.



For the first 10 days in Boston, we stayed at “the House on Autumn Street”. It was patient housing set up through Boston Children’s Hospital. Reservations were made easy enough online and for $30 a night it made for an out of towner blessing. Watson really enjoyed staying there up until his surgery. There were toys for him to play with and Disney movies for him to watch in a common area. They even had community donated food items in a stocked pantry and refrigerator. I especially loved that they had hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes everywhere. This was a relief because keeping Watson germ/cold free before his surgery was a full time job. We met so many kind people there and it really was refreshing to bond with people going through similar situations.

The Friday before Watson’s surgery the longest day by far. From what we had heard about, pre-op days were suppose to be hard so we prepared ourselves to expect an exhausting day. Watson had a sedated echo scheduled for noon so he wasn’t allowed to eat breakfast and he was only allowed to drink clear liquids until 10:30 am. We spent the morning having x-rays, getting blood drawn, having an EKG, meeting with different doctors and taking a tour of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. It was a lot of information to take in and we tried our best to get our growing list of questions answered. As the morning passed by Watson was growing fussy and tired. It was hard following him around everywhere keeping him out of trouble and constantly wiping his hands clean. I was so worried about the flu outbreak too. Finally it was time for his ECHO. While that was taking place we finally got to speak with Dr. Pedro del Nido (or Pethro del Neato). He came in our room unannounced. As soon as I saw him I immediately recognized his face. I think I actually jumped a bit because in my mind he’s like this miracle worker. He explained to us that in addition to Watson’s large ASD they also thought he had mis located pulmonary veins that needed to be re-routed. This news was a little unsettlingly because this was the first time we had heard about this. (After the surgery we learned that his septal wall between the 2 atria was also mal-aligned. The septum had to be re-routed between the inferior vena cava and the inferior pulmonary vein. It was confusing to tell from the ECHO exactly what was going on.  His final diagnosis was Inferior Sinus venosus atrial septal defect with partial anomalous pulmonary venous return or SVASD with PAPVR). Dr. del Nido was patient and compassionate. He explained different scenarios and was pretty confident that he could repair everything. I think he even said the actual heart surgery part would only take 30 minutes. He re-assured us that our timing for having this procedure done was right and that Watts would be in the best possible care. I even made sure he specifically was going to do the surgery and that he wasn’t going to watch over it knowing that Boston Children’s is a teaching hospital. He kinda chuckled at my question and said that he himself was going to take care of everything and not to worry. It was such a relief to finally meet him and he really did put me at ease. We left the hospital around 4pm. Watson’s surgery was scheduled for first thing Monday morning. We had to be at the hospital at 6am. That left us with the weekend to get through.