|Volume 4 - Issue 08 AUGUST 2006||
AMITA`S AMAZING JOURNEY– FROM DOUBT AND DESPAIR TO LIGHT AND DELIGHT
By Sri Y Aravind
The Often Unnoticed Miracle
Every moment is an aeon when you always have the shadow of the grim reaper over you. The shadow is dark and at other times recedes into a not so distant horizon. Happy moments pass us by like fireflies in the dark. Glowing and dimming, so fast that we can hardly enjoy them when they are with us; we can only reminisce wistfully. Moments of pain seem to last ages, festering sores in the conscious, leaving indelible scars in the unconscious.
The parents could only accept the play of destiny as an act of God, but they were a practical couple. They did not allow this Damocles’ sword to influence their daughter’s normal life. From their end they endeavored to help Amita lead as normal a life as possible. On the occasion when the malady raised its hood and things skewed out of control they took her to pediatricians in different medical institutions like Dr.Gangadhar Saranghi, a pediatrician in a private clinic and the Kalinga hospital in Bhubaneshwar. But all this was only to assuage their conscience that they were trying their best for her. They knew that surgery was the only option. But what was the surgery and who would do it? They at last approached a cardiologist, the late Dr. Mrityunjay Satpathi in Cuttack, who gave the final diagnosis as: DORV VSD PS (Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Ventricular Septal Defect, Pulmonay Stenosis). He pegged the cost of surgery at about 1,70,000/-. He also warned them that post operatively she may have to take different types of medication depending upon what complications arose. It was not a pretty picture - but he gave them hope.
The risk to life was a glaring reality. Surgery would help their daughter but…there was a risk and without surgery she was definitely at risk. Between a rock and a hard place, they sent out messages to their kith and kin asking for a good reference – a good center where they could have the surgery done with minimum expense. They had already spent more than Rs10,000/- in just diagnostic and radiological procedures. And they even had to plan for the post operative contingencies.
There is Hope, Finally
It is said the night is darkest before dawn and the hill steepest near the summit. When the shadow loomed over them dark and foreboding, they received a call. Renu Bala’s brother, Krishna Ranjan Sahoo working as a software engineer at Oracle in Bangalore called up to tell them about the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield. “…a super specialty hospital that offers Medicare totally free of cost. Come and try, this may be her chance,” he advised. Raj Kishore said,
But, with hope carrying them on its wings, they came to Bangalore. And to their amazement, their child was immediately admitted into the hospital.
The Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis
After examining her, the Cardiologists gave their clinical diagnosis: DORV with Single large S/A VSD, Severe Valvular and infundibular PS, Left juxtaposition of RA Appendage. Good sized Confluent PA’s. Good biventricular function. Normal coronaries, no additional VSD, AR , PDA, COA. Aorta anterior to PA.
The surgeons had choices: the Kawashima procedure and the Fontan procedure. Whatever they did, the procedure would only be palliative and not curative; such was the anomaly. They finally decided upon the corrective procedure of TCPC: Total Cavo Pulmonary Correction – Fontan procedure.
The Complex Operation Commences
On the 28th of June 2006, Amita was wheeled into the operation theatre and the ‘Extracardiac Fenestrated Fontan’ operation done. The Inferior Vena Cava that drains blood from the lower parts of the body into the heart was connected to the Main Pulmonary Artery that directs the blood to the lungs, using an 18mm Haemashield graft, with a fenestration (hole) connecting to the Right Atrium. The Superior Vena Cava draining blood from the head was attached to the Right Pulmonary Artery. The Left Superior Vena Cava was attached to the Left Pulmonary Artery. Procedure completed, she was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit and kept under observation.
After the first 24 hours the surgeons noted a new complication. Though her pressures were fine, her cardiac output was falling. This could lead to failure if not corrected soon. So the surgeons once again discussed the options with the cardiologists and then decided to partially undo the previous procedure. A procedure called ‘takedown Fontan’ was decided upon and to also convert the correction into a Bilateral Bidirectional Glenn or Kawashima with Septostomy (the surgical creation of an opening). When shifted to the ICU and under observation for 24 hours, her condition improved and all the parameters returned to acceptable levels. The second surgery was a success and she was on the path to recovery.
Amita will now be able to watch every sunrise and sunset tinted with her favorite color - red. The color that rushes though her heart and the color that rushes into her cheeks when she blushes. She does not have to be told how lucky she is to be alive and be able to lead a normal life. To be alive is a miracle - and Amita knows that she is a miracle.
‘This Hospital is Veritably Heaven’
The original doubts of her parents have dissolved and have been replaced with a conviction that this Hospital embodies their concept of heaven,
In this temple of healing there is no room for negativity. Could this recovery be possible elsewhere? Yes, for sure the surgical procedures are performed elsewhere and prognosis has been good. But is that what can change minds? Lives yes, but minds? To be able to excise the misery and implant hope; to truncate despair and anastamose a new lease of life is far more complicated than Fontans and Kawashimas. There is always a silver lining to the cloud. And more often than not the dark cloud blows away revealing the dazzling Sun behind. There is always a “Tomorrow”.
Dear Reader, how did you like this story? Would you like more of such patient stories in this section of our magazine? Do you have any suggestions for our 'Healing Touch' section which will help you better? Please let us know at [email protected]. Please mention your name and country when you write to us.
– Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 4 Issue 08 - AUGUST 2006
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