So yesterday Charlie had an Echocardiagram (aka ECHO) (result: good news, for those who can't stand suspense). He was born with a small hole in his heart called a PFO (patent foramen ovale), which often can close on its own. At a year old, however, it had grown, instead of closing, and at about half a centemeter was upgraded to being called an ASD (atrial septal defect). If it continued growing, the doc told us at that time, it would need a repair when he reached 4 years old--a small screen inserted via cardiac catheter. In the meantime it wouldn't cause any problem, but should be checked yearly.
He should have had this ECHO about a year ago, but a year ago we were in the midst of random unpredictable violent mood stuff, plus regular vomiting and respiratory illness, so we focused on that instead, ultimately resolving it by treating his apparently very bad GERD and changing his antihistamines.
So, then he should have had this ECHO a couple of months ago, but he decided to have Scarlet Fever on the day he was scheduled, so we had to reschedule.
He should have had it at our local branch of the Heart Institute for Children, but they're booked through the end of winter, so we scheduled at a branch an hour away from home.
Mike was supposed to take him, and I spent a half week agonizing over what a terrible mother I am for conserving my last few vacation days (I
have had 4 remaining through the end of March, whereas Mike has a bunch more than that and his roll over in January) in case Charlie needs to get tubes in his ears or some other drama happens before April. I knew he'd be scared of the procedure and Mike is very comforting but I am Charlie's favorite security blanket. But with difficulty I reconciled myself to being absent for this.
Then Mike got a cold. Not a bad cold, but we don't go sit in waiting rooms full of medically fragile children when we have viruses, and this is a pediatric cardiology specialty office. So I took the day off to take Charlie to his appointment, thus fixing my agonizing about motherhood and replacing it with worrying about my career instead.
So, Charlie was supposed to have the ECHO at 9 am. We got to the place and the elevator wasn't working. People were taking the stairs and with the help of some M&M's I coaxed Charlie into the stairwell despite his protests of "too scary!" (This after several plaintive "I don't want doctor, no doctor!"). Walking up stairs is something he does happily enough, however, so he was ok with that part although my asthma was a bit annoyed with me.
We got to the office and there were only a couple of kids already in the waiting room. However, when we signed in the receptionist told us something was wrong with the building power. The lights were on but the elevator wasn't working, as I had already discovered. What else wasn't working? ECHO and EKG systems, of course.
Power was restored about an hour later -- a truck had hit a pole or something, so they had to fix a transformer. There had been kids waiting in the offices inside the whole time, so they still needed to have their procedures before we waiting room people could be called. Thank god for my Ipad and for those obsessive people who make videos of trains.
Another hour or so and we got to go in and have normal doctor stuff plus the ECHO, which is a set of ultrasounds of the heart done from different angles. Mercifully Charlie thought that was kind of cool, particularly because at one point it sounded like a train. Also helpful in keeping him from freaking out: my many promises of taking him to a toy store afterwards, plus giving him way too many M&M's and Dum Dums.
I really, really expected to hear that the hole had doubled in size (Charlie has, himself, doubled in size, after all) and that he'd need surgery as soon as he got to be old enough. I had just been assuming that and preparing to hear that, for months now.
Instead, the doctor said the hole had gotten so small that it only showed from a couple angles on the ECHO, and wasn't visible from the other angles. It's so small now that it's not considered abnormal or medically significant.
"Goodbye; we won't need to see him again."