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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Having Faith

Solid as a rock, Matthew and his bride Suzie wait for his pre-cath x-rays.

Yesterday our son Matthew underwent his annual heart catheterization. Although he has undergone more than 20 of these procedures since his heart transplant 15+ years ago, I still get butterflies in my stomach each time. I keep repeating to myself, "Have faith."

We arrived at Carolinas Medical Center very early so that paperwork, labs and x-rays could be completed prior to the actual cath. Dr. Ted Frank, Matthew's primary cardiologist, spoke with all of us in the cath holding area. Dr. Larry Watts who performed Matthew's bypass five years ago, also stopped by to say hello. We are so very fortunate to have such a great heart center and such wonderful, caring doctors just a block and a half from our house!

Dr. Sanjeev Gulati performed the actual procedure, in which the coronary arteries of the heart are examined. A scope is threaded through a catheter which has been inserted into the femoral artery. Injected dye allows the arteries to be seen. Everything went very well. The arteries are basically unchanged from a year ago, which is very good, and the graph from the bypass is clean as a whistle.

Matthew also had an extensive echocardiogram - an untrasound of the heart - which measures actual heart function. The 62 images were then examined by doctors who specialize in reading echos. We were elated to learn Matthew's heart function has improved significantly from last year. Hallelujah!

After four hours of lying flat to allow the artery to clot and prevent bleeding, Matthew was able to come home. He took a nap on the couch, Suzie and I fell asleep on the deck and Bill prepared a vegetarian birthday dinner for Suzie. We had whole grain peach and strawberry Savannah bars complete with a candle, for dessert. It was the perfect ending to a very good day.

I took this shot of Matthew having his palm scanned just as my husband and a receptionist
said simultaneously, "You can't take pictures in here!"

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