Tick Tock, she don’t stop!
Yep – thirty years ago today I underwent my last (knock wood) successful open heart surgery, while my parents waited to hear the news. I signed my own consent form, the first child at age 8 to do so. I was very disappointed to learn that, despite my “autograph,” my parents still had to sign that form.
At a magical place called Children’s National Medical Center in upper Northwest Washington, D.C., just on the other side of the Capitol dome, I had a four-hour surgery to replace my “pig” tissue mitral valve, which I had outgrown, with a St. Jude stainless steel valve.
This amazing piece of machinery was placed by my terrific and loving surgeon, Dr. Frank Midgley, whom I am still in touch with today. I call my pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Sy Hepner (who kept me alive medically until I was strong enough for surgery) and Dr. Midgley, my surgeon, every year on this day and today will be no different. I had the fun of reconnecting with Dr. Midgley, now thoroughly enjoying retirement, earlier this year while I was working at Children’s National in the cardiology department. He was running the Van Metre 5K for Children’s National while I walked. I ran into Dr. Hepner, who was my cardiologist until I finished college, not long ago at the Eastern Market simply by recognizing the sound of his voice a few vendors away!
But today is not all about me. It is about all of the other babies and kids and families on the 3rd floor at Children’s going through the same thing I and my family did. Every family that enters that hospital has a story: more kids at home, schedules to juggle, bedsides to attend, tension between work and being with their child.
I write today to encourage you to consider donating $30 for 30 years. Continuing to use the “in honor of our wedding” website link here, you can give directly to the Children’s National Heart Institute. Your contribution will support the research they are doing, the education and experience the terrific doctors, nurses and surgeons are sharing – across the country and around the world. The Institute ensures that research and learning will continue forever, and the success stories, like mine, will increase every year. Kids like me with congenital heart disease born in the 60’s, 70’s and beyond are living into adulthood, so there are now Adult Congenital Heart Disease programs in hospitals all over the country.
Every little beat counts, as does every dollar!
Tick Tock, I don’t stop! 30 years &