A Broken Heart

35,000 children are born with heart defects every year (American Heart Association)
Only 1% of those children have truncus arteriosus (many sources, including the Herma Heart Center where Turnip may be treated)
That means about 350 babies are born in the U.S. with the same condition as Turnip every year. (330 according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from jan 6, 2006)
Surgery usually happens at 6-12 weeks (EPA, page 4)
15-50% of children require another surgery within the next five years (i.b.i.d.)
All heart valves are replaced after 12 years(i.b.i.d.)
Newborns with truncus arteriosus stayed in the hospital for an average of 30 days during 2003 (CDC, table 2)
The hospital charges for this stay (not including lab tests and doctor fees) ran to $200,000 (CDC, table 2)
In a small study published in 1996, 6% of infants died before surgery and 10% died during surgery (EPA, page 4)
In a national survey, 20% of newborns with truncus arteriosus died in the hospital in 2003 (CDC, table 1)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

language explosion

Well, kind of....

Oliver now attempts to say: duck, dog, cow, moo, arf-arf, mpt (elephant noise), roar (for lions), bunny, button, ball (he says that one a lot--like, he won't stop if he can see a ball until he gets the ball), water, ding-a-ding-ding (for some chimes and bells), get that, over there, bye bye, there-he-is (for peek a boo)...
...and my all-time favorite: "bye-bye papa."

Of course, a lot of the words come out sounding like "ba" or "da" or "du"....but, hey, we've got context.

He also likes to talk on the phone (pretend), feed the adults (real), and brush other people's hair

He still drags over toys and books and then climbs in my lap.

He even teases me. Evelyn just got a picture of a bunny. He will look at it and say, "dog." "No," I'll say, "that's not a dog its a bunny. The bunny goes hop hop." The more vehement I am, the more he giggles before he repeats: "dog. arf-arf."

Monday, April 19, 2010


One of Oliver's first words was dance. He loves being danced, listening to music, playing the piano with both fists, and more recently, dancing--he and his sister will twirl around the front room after big sister programs the digital piano to play fur Elise.

Then, yesterday, on the way home from church, he started singing in the car.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

more development

Oliver has been signing "water" for a while now. He does it for a drink, when he sees the ocean, when he sees a river, the bath, etc...

He also still frequently retrieves interesting objects and then brings them over to climb onto my lap and examine.

He also follows simple instructions: "Take the toy to papa." "Bring me your stompers (shoes)."

He is very interested in dogs. Every time he sees one or a picture of one he either starts barking or says, "Dah" "Dah" (imagine dog without the g)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

new word

"butt," "butt," "butt." which translated means button, i.e., the buttons on my phone, my shirt, the remote, and my computer keyboard as well as light switches, etc...

Friday, April 9, 2010

new tricks

Oliver is now proficient at getting his shoes off...and throwing them out of his stroller. We almost lost one for good at the Roman Agora, yesterday.
Oliver also now ASKS for food! He holds his mouth open and begs for yummy treats. I guess Greek cuisine agrees with the kid.
He has also started saying more "words" (touch, hot, get that, over there) and manipulating his environment. He loves putting lids on and off of things and turning switches on and off and turning wheels and knobs and anything else he can get his hands on.
Yes, he's made his first trans-Atlantic flight and did well on the plane. However, we had some problems during our stop over in London as we couldnt' find prune juice anywhere.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bad Dream

Last night I dreamt that my dad was visiting our family in Wisconsin. At some point during the visit, Oliver had a cardiology appointment. During the appointment the five medicall personnel determined that Oliver needed immediate surgery. So, they whisked him away, telling me that they were going to cut a wedge of lemon and begin processing it as soon as they started Oliver's surgery. Once they had him open, they planned to use the lemon skin, not the rind, the skin, to repair Oliver's heart.

They took him away and then, after an indeterminate amount of time, I saw them begin emerging from the operating room into the glassed in exam room. I pressed my face and hands against the glass trying to read their faces, desperate to know how the surgery had gone, when I saw the fifth person walk out of the operating room cradling Oliver in their arms.

As this person laid Oliver down on the bed, one of the other doctors came over to me and told me I should hold him for the next five hours before putting him down. But, he warned me not to rock him or jostle him as any movement could cause him to destabilize. I looked at Oliver and realized he was sitting on the exam table, slumped jack-knifed in half. I could only see his back with a little scar over his right kidney. At least, he was jack-knifed over until he flopped back into the arms of the waiting medical personel.

This, 15 months after his first surgery.