Today was pre-op for Nathan’s valve replacement surgery. We arrived at 8am and finally left at 12:45. Everything went as expected, almost. . . . . I’ll get to that in a minute. We had our own special room for the duration of our stay today.

First, we met with Jannelle, our liaison throughout the day. She is really nice and helpful and guided us through all of our different meetings. She sent us to the basement for labs/blood work. After the wonderful journey to the depths of TCH, we returned to cave, er Congenital Room 1 (our special room).

Next was the Social Worker, asking typical social worker questions. I haven’t really figured out why we have a social worker. I guess it’s just one of the services the hospital offers.

Third was Tameka, she is Dr. McKenzie’s assistant. She is adorable. You can tell that she really enjoys her job, she has a wonderful attitude and smiles all the time. She informed us of some of the details of Nathan’s stay and some post-op instructions. As we were talking with her, the subject of a Holter monitor that Nathan wore in March came up. As it turns out, it got lost in the mail on the return trip to TCH. Nathan HATES wearing these monitors. It is cumbersome, itchy, annoying, etc. So  . . . guess what he’s wearing today???? Yup, a Holter monitor, all because I opened my BIG mouth. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t said anything about it no one would have remembered that it got lost.

We even had this cute young girl bring in a binder and shoe cute pictures and tell us how our day would go tomorrow. I know that she meets mostly with children solely based on her presentation. It was very informative and well organized but, very much for a child’s level of understanding. She brought a doll that displayed what Nathan’s incision will look like and explained all of the different locations that Nathan will have things protruding from and the purposes behind each of the protrusions. At the very end, she offered to take us on a “tour” of the different rooms and places we would be visiting tomorrow. We politely declined the tour as we have already been to nearly every location she was going to show us.

Our final meeting with Jannell provided the most important info of the day. WHAT TIME DO WE SHOW UP???? We are to arrive at TCH at 6am for a 7am start time. (I imagine that they won’t take him back until around 9). Nathan will spend much of the first 2 days in CVICU (CV=cardiovascular). He will get to rest Friday. Saturday will begin his recovery, he has been directed by Tameka to begin taking walks and sitting up in chairs over the weekend. If he doesn’t follow this wonderful advise, he could end up with pneumonia.


As we were leaving the 20th floor today (TCH Cardiology Clinic) I noticed a grouping of sings/banners stating all of the accolades the TCH has been awarded over the years. The two that were most significant to me: US NEWS & WORLD REPORT voted TCH the #3 of  the 50 Top-Ranked Pediatric Hospitals for Cardiology & Heart Surgery. TCH has received this honor for the 3rd year in a row. the sign just hasn’t been posted. I am so happy that we are able to have such talented physicians at our disposal. Many people we have talked to over the years don’t understand why we travel so far for medical care. Hopefully, this will shed some light on why we believe in having excellent surgeons.

Nathan, being born in Houston, was very fortunate to have his very first open heart surgery performed by Dr. Denton Cooley. You can read about Dr. Cooley’s impressive career here and here. I believe that having Dr. Cooley perform Nathan’s very first surgery was integral and essential to his survival as an infant. Nathan started his life with the best surgeon in the world. Why not continue that tradition? Why not have the best do their best work? Nathan deserves the best care he can get, that’s why!!!!


3 responses to “Pre-Op

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