Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Over the river and through the woods to the cardiologist we go...

During baby Drofen's assessment at the hospital the pediatrician and the nursery nurses both noted he had a systolic murmur. In our follow up appointment with our pediatrician on Monday, the murmur was still present. Our pediatrician was concerned (more than I was,) so he set us up with an appointment with the cardiologist. Our appointment was this morning, only two days later. I have to say it was interesting listening to the secretary answer the phone and tell people their first available appointment was at the end of January. Things that make you go hmm.

My wife has been a ganglion of raw nerves since Monday morning to say the least. I was doing pretty well, knowing full well that a systolic murmur probably meant some kind of VSD. Many VSD's spontaneously resolve themselves as baby gets older. I know. I had one. But my wife is a heart nurse at the PICU and regularly sees the absolute worst possible outcomes of a heart murmur. So I can't say that I blame her for being nervous.

Baby got an echo first, and as the tech is manipulating the wand around, all I can see on the screen is valves, and beating chambers everywhere, no sense of order. It was then that the fear ran through me, buzzing like an electrical charge, my worst fears racing to the front of my mind. Obviously my wife and I are familiar with the heart, but aren't experienced at seeing things on the ultrasound monitor, so it made it very frustrating. I could recognize all the anatomy as it flashed by, but couldn't diagnose anything.

Next up was the EKG, and the first lap around the track the tech ran the machine on 1/4 standard, so we got to repeat the whole thing. Meanwhile baby is getting hungry, and fussy. My wife is trying to feed him while changing rooms 3 times, EKG machines twice, trying to get automated BP's on upper and lower extremities, walk-ins by the doctor, the nurse, the sono tech, and the patient care tech while they all discussed how the machine got set on 1/4 standard... Chaos at best. Certainly not helping my frame of mind. Not to mention the office walls were so thin we could hear them discussing other patients and their circumstances from 3 exam rooms away. Talk about a bull in the HIPPA shop!

Finally the doc got to listen closely to baby's heart, and it confirmed his findings. Or rather, lack thereof. He could find no reason at all for the murmur. Everything was structurally sound. In fact he said that even only a few RBC's are squeezing through the foramen ovale which was adhering nicely, well ahead of schedule.

Even though I KNEW this was not a big deal, it was still good to hear a negative dx. My wife was visibly relieved. So, things were so good that we don't have to follow up with the cardiologist unless the murmur is still present at 6 months, or even a year.



  1. Oh my, how nerve wracking. Glad to hear things are OK. Hang in there!

  2. Whew. Glad things turned out well. When they say ignorance is true it is!

  3. Wowsers! Glad you came out of that ringer so well! I am 37 and still have a murmur...the worst I have to deal with is taking the prophylactic antibiotics prior to dental appointments.

  4. Wow! I'm with Mrs. Drofen. I'm a cardiac nurse as well so I tend to expect the worst and hope for the best.

    Agonizing...but I'm so glad it's ok!

  5. wow, how stressful was that?! I am soo relieved to hear all ended well. Give a hug to your wife for us cyber buds okay!

  6. Yeesh. Congrats on everything working out ok :) I can't read ultrasounds to save my life. Sometimes my preggo friends shove their ultrasound pics in my face and are like "Isn't he precious/tiny/like an alien?" and I have no idea what they are looking at. Now I want to see a heart one too :D

  7. Thanks for the well wishes everyone. Just for the moment there, I experienced what it must be like to discover that your baby has a serious health problem. It was not a good feeling, and I'm glad we got away with a non-diagnosis. I just *knew* this had to be the case. He's too pink, and eats too well for it to be serious. In fact he started at 8-13, dropped to 8-6.5 on Monday, and today was already back to 8-9.5, so we're doing well I think.

  8. I read this when you posted. I'm sorry I am just now commenting. I was reading with bated breath and am so relieved that everything is ok. I know that fear. I'm very, very glad you recieved good news.