Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Big Week For Haitian Hearts!

Little 4-year-old Marie spent the night in Peoria with us this weekend on her way to St. Louis. She was an angel, who followed us around and played nicely during the time she was here, swinging her feet in time to the Saturday Night Live theme (I know, I know. . . we had her up much too late). Marie lives in an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, and the good training she receives there was apparent in her behavior. She knows how to wash her hands well, flush the toilet, dress and feed herself. While we would expect these behaviors from an American 4-year-old, most kids in Haiti live in shacks with no running water. Such is the case with Jenny, the little girl who came to the U.S. with Marie. Her patient and saintly host family is putting her through a behavior modification program and also praying a lot.

This morning Marie had successful surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to repair a congenital heart problem called Tetralogy of Fallot.! (Okay, this is called burying the lead). She cruised through the surgery and was extubated—a good thing—very soon after surgery finished. She is a hearty little girl and we anticipate that her recovery will be quick.

Marie is what’s known as a pink tet. Her heart defect hadn’t begun to cause her problems, including cyanosis, which would turn her lips and mouth blue. But eventually it would. A couple of trips ago, we met an 18-year-old with the same heart defect as Marie. He was blue, his fingers were clubbed and he was very thin and weak. We are thankful that Marie was able to have her surgery while she was still healthy.

Jenny is scheduled to have her Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) closed on Thursday. The good news is that it looks like the doctors at Cleveland Clinic will be able to do this in the cath lab, and Jenny will avoid the trauma and risks of full blown surgery. The Ductus Arteriosus remains open before a child is born and normally closes after birth. When it doesn’t, then surgery is required.

Like I said, it’s a big week for Haitian Hearts!

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