It was a beautiful spring day today. Warm sunshine and a steady March breeze created the perfect kite flying conditions. As Veta’s blond hair waved in the breeze, she became fascinated with the sky. “Look at the clouds Papa.” “I see them. Do you know what kind of clouds they are? They’re cumulus clouds.” “Cumulus clouds,” she repeated with a smile.”
Sundays are our fun days and I try to sneak in some science whenever I can. Bird watching, wildflowers, kites and clouds were today’s topics. I wanted to tell her about barometric pressure and why the wind blows, but we’ll cover those meteorological tidbits on future adventures.
Our kite flying diversion was brought back to earth by another observation. “Look, a helicopter.” Sure enough, a LifeForce helicopter was heading west across the cloud-dotted sky.
Some 1,587 days ago, Veta’s journey began aboard LifeForce. Tomorrow we are heading back to Nashville.
Many people have asked about her next surgery, the third in a comprehensive arterial re-routing that will allow her unique heart to perform the best it can.
It’s a pressure problem on one level. A challenge to help her heart distribute blood and oxygen throughout her body by optimizing her arteries and blood pressure.
This graphic explains the three steps better than I can. At face value it’s a complicated open-heart procedure. And, Veta’s heart is actually facing the “wrong” direction compared to you and I. So there’s another level of difficulty.
We will spend tomorrow having fun at the Nashville Zoo, then Ben and Mysti plan to take Veta to the hospital just to look around. They feel like she’ll be more comfortable with the atmosphere when she goes in for her sedated echocardiogram and heart catheter procedures first thing Tuesday morning.
We’ll probably find out when she’s scheduled for surgery on Wednesday after her tests on Tuesday. If the literature I’ve read is correct, the surgery will take at least five hours.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that we’ve all been thinking about this, or more appropriately trying not to think about this, for a long time.
While it is a bridge we must cross, it isn’t easy for any of us. We all know that Veta is in the best hands possible. We know that she is amazingly strong and resilient. But sometimes you look in the mirror and have to admit there’s fear in the face looking back at you.
This time she’ll know what’s going on but won’t understand. That makes my chest ache in a way I’ve never experienced.
But the wind that tussled her hair and kept her kite aloft today also lifts my spirits.
The wind also spreads a million wishes across the land after the spring sunshine encourages another crop of “wish flowers” to bloom.
I’m using all mine on Wednesday.