Saturday, March 14, 2009

Heart to heart friends

I bring up Moogie's open heart surgery often. It was an event that changed my family for ever. I would never want a child to suffer but I am so very thankful for that experience, just like I will be eternally grateful for the experience of the car accident I was in 7 years ago. Two life defining moments. I plan to write the full story for Moogie's birthday next month. This past week we were so blessed and we want to share that story.

You see when Moogie was recovering oh so many years ago from that fateful surgery she wanted to walk the floor. Seeing that she was attached to tubes for drainage and an IV; I was very hesitant. She has just gotten sick like I had never seen. I thought her insides were coming out. I was later told that it must have just been the end of all the anesthesia in her system. After that sick session she was perky, excited and wanted to play. I didn't want her to. They had just closed her chest up, she still had a drain tube and an IV, and she needed to be careful. The doctors had told us differently. They said that heart patients often feel so much better after a correction that they want to run around. The trick is to let them run around but not to fall on their chest. I would have felt better if she stayed cuddled in bed but her dad was happy to see her up and raring to go. The two of them set off to circle the unit.
Moogie began to play a game with her dad. She would run ahead and hide behind a pole. She quickly discovered that everyone wanted to join in. The nurses would duck behind a counter and then yell surprise to her dad or better yet pretend to be spies either on her side or the others. I have never seen so many adults playing in my entire life. I know they see so much sadness on this floor but they also share in the joy. Around one pillar Moogie found another spy. He was with his playful dad as well. This young man was about 2 years older than Moogie but still glad to have a new friend.

The rest of our weekend was spent playing with this young man and his family. Turns out he wasn't the patient at all but his baby sister was. She was three at the time and recovering from her 3rd open heart surgery. She is an adorable red-head and we fell in love with her right away. They were a great family from Lubbock, TX. They home schooled the older child and really impressed us with all they had been through. I learned the heart surgery jargon from the mom. She knew the lingo and helped me to understand what I needed to pay attention to on the chart and what was not an issue. I learned so much from her. She knew her stuff. She had to and I am so thankful that I didn't need to.

We left the hospital before them, we exchanged addresses and then went about our lives. When we sent Christmas cards out that year Moogie insisted that we send them a card. We got one from them and were so happy to see that they were home and things were good with their daughter. The funny thing is that I think about them often. Every time I hear about a child with a congenital heart defect this family comes to my mind. I find that every time I talk about Moogie's surgery that I think about this family. Sometimes a random thought comes to mind. Always, I say a prayer for the family and for the daughter's heart health.

This past Christmas card directed our friends to this blog. They visited our blog and began to read our stories. I was so happy to find they are writing one as well. Yeah! I cried when I read her more recent post on What it means to be a Parent of a Child with a Heart Defect.

I love reading blogs of my friends. That is my morning news. I am much more interested on how things are going with my friends and their children than the economy. I loved reading how they were doing. This family is doing well. Their son was now in a co-op type school. He attends classes 2 times a week and still continues the majority of his time and work at home. The best of both worlds. Then to my joy I read that they were coming back to Houston for a check up!

I am not trying to sound morbid here. I was not at all happy that they needed to see doctors here in Houston. I did worry that something might be wrong. I asked my friends to pray for their little one and her health. What I am saying is that we were very excited that we might get the chance to see them again. As it all worked out we were able to have a long dinner with them last Thursday night. Kelbey was scheduled to have all of her testing on Friday. We spent hours at the restaurant sharing stories, comparing notes, and updating our lives to each other. We took Moogie and Princess. Moogie was sad that the big brother would not be there but still very happy to see her heart patient buddy. Princess was about the same age so we thought she might have fun as well.

I think it must be wrong that we had as much fun as we did. We laughed so hard. As it turns out the dads are very much alike. Both very silly and funny. We talked homeschooling, family life, politics, faith, food, health, and travel. We covered it all and were still friends at the end of the night. I would never wish heart issues on any child or any family. I am just so thankful that because of the example to this family we were able to make the most of it then. They are still fighting the fight as their daughters condition wasn't as "correctable" like Moogies. I thank God for the connection to this wonderful family. I look forward to many check up visits that we hope to share with them.

The really great news is that Kelbey got a good report after her testing on Friday. She gets to fly back home and continue living the life of a young woman that knows her heart might not work just like everyone elses. She will go on forgetting that fact and take on the world with her smile and bright eyes. She will continue to love her mom and dad for the exciting, joy filled people that they are. She will continue trying to live up to her big brothers adventures in the world. In two years when she comes back for another check up we hope to be there again. We will plan another dinner so we can watch the girls play and giggle and share stories.

These two are in a very exclusive club. There is a special bond between these children that have had open heart surgeries. They love each other, they pray for each other and they "get" each other. In the children I have known with heart issues I have to say that they also share some personality traits. They are strong willed. They are feisty. They are happy. They have compassion for others. They have a high tolerance for pain. They strive to be independent. They grow up loving life. They love God, they seam to know Him personally. They bond to each other, they just seam to "know" each other.

Dear heavenly Father please keep all of these children close to you. They might not have the perfect physical hearts but they all seam to have emotional hearts made of gold. Please help us all to love you, to love each other, and to love life like these beautiful examples teach us. Keep them safe. Bless their doctors and nurses. Give us the strength to trust your will in everything including their health. Thank you for Moogie, Khloe', Christian, Kyle, Kelbey and the countless others out there. Thank you for our good heart health and Morgan's correction. Thank you for life that can hang in the balance for so many of these heart children. Help us Lord, to always, appreciate all these gifts and never to lose our heart-to-heart connections with these friends.


  1. Hi Shannon. What a beautiful family you have! After reading your post I pray that your little one continues to remain healthy an do well. Our oldest, Mary Catherine, was born with 2 TINY VSDs that eventually closed on their own. But, oh, how my heart would break for the parents and children that we would see at the Children's Mercy Hospital Cardiology Unit in downtown Kansas City while Mary was under the care of her cardiologist.

    I look forward to following your blog and reading about all of the adventures homeschooling family of 9/(10) gets to experience.

    Take care and blessings to you from Kansas. Valerie

  2. Shannon,
    How my eyes flow with happy tears to read your beautiful words in this post and to see Khloe's name there with all the others. Thank you for being that family for us, for helping us along the way, for praying us through. You are so special and I thank God for blessing me with your friendship. Tell Morgan that Khloe' is trying to walk and when we come back to Texas she needs to get ready to run around with her at the park! Take care and thanks for sharing your life.
    Love in Christ,


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