One of the trickiest parts of being heart parents over the last 6 months has been putting our heart warrior under quarantine. Last August Asher had a catheter surgery to place some new pacemaker leads in his heart to help his ventricles squeeze in sync with one another, and the morning after he was released from the hospital, he went into shock – dehydration, vomiting, crying, and eyes rolling in the back of his head. My folks were visiting from Idaho, and so my dad and I rushed Asher to the Emergency Room a few miles away. From there, they ended up having to life-flight him to Primary Children’s Hospital, where he had just spent the last two weeks.
The CICU team were surprised to see him back so soon. Thankfully, he was able to come home the very next day. But, as luck would have it, we ended up having to bring him right back only a few weeks later. His breathing didn’t seem right, and he was really pulling to get air. Thank goodness we took him in, because his oxygen levels were very low, and they needed to immediately get him hooked up to help him out.
To be honest, even though by that point Asher had already undergone two open-heart surgeries, including a 12-hour procedure which ended up replacing 3 of his heart valves, this was probably one of the scariest moments we had with him. One of the cardiologists explained to us after the test results came back that Asher likely had just caught the common cold. The problem, however, was that cold’s usually get worse before they get better. He explained the very real possibility that this cold might be the thing that would take our little boy’s life.
Two weeks and many prayers and miracles later, Asher was released again and got to come home with us. This time we returned home with a strong determination to make sure we did everything within our power to not let him (or the rest of us) get sick. We deep-cleaned the house, sanitized everything we could, got an air purifier, and began multivitamins and better eating habits. Each one of us got the flu shot. We’d wash our hands frequently, especially after going out. The nature of my job includes quite a bit of handshaking every-day, which habit also had to be eliminated. We ended up doing what we could to keep Asher away from large crowds, especially Church on Sundays or large family gatherings. When it was necessary to bring him out, we’d bring along our hand sanitizer pump and some surgical masks (he insisted on getting the Mickey Mouse kind).
Now, just over 6 months later, we’re absolutely stunned at the success our efforts have had. The worst that any of us have really picked up was a runny nose and maybe a bit of a cough. No major colds, no flu, nothing – we’ve all been relatively healthy, and have been extremely blessed to have not had bring Asher back into the emergency room for anything this whole flu season. We’ve done everything we could to give him as normal of an experience as possible indoors. My mother recruited many friends and neighbors from up in Idaho to help put together big bins full of prizes, games, crafts, and other fun stuff to help Asher have fun things to do. Others brought over similar things to help (including a mini-trampoline and a ball pit from some great friends!). All in all, we’ve been very grateful for all the love and support we’ve received from others.
Things are starting to warm up here now. Soon we’ll be able to bring Asher out more – to family gatherings, church, and other public places. This quarantine period has been challenging, and while we’ve learned so much, we’re definitely ready for spring and summer.