Entry 9: The Fork in the Road

Posted by Sherri Viner on April 21, 2015 at 4:05 PM

Since our ultrasound appointment last week with Dr. Schneider, Jimmy and I have gotten comfortable with the idea of delivering and having Nicholas’ heart surgeries at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Prior to our appointment, I was thinking that we would have to go to Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor which is 2 hours away. The logistics of how everything would work has been weighing heavily on my mind. We have other children and Jimmy’s work to consider. The good news is that DeVos it is literally minutes from where we live and it would surely make life a bit easier.

Dr. Schneider was reassuring as he spoke about the ability and experience of his colleagues and the facilities at his hospital. He told us that he couldn’t remember the last patient they had to refer to Michigan (Mott’s). It’s obvious that his hospital is where his loyalties lay but I really got the sense that he had our best interest in mind. He encouraged us to seek a second opinion if we didn’t feel completely confident about DeVos and also indicated that both hospitals have a very good cooperative working relationship with each other. Had he not been open minded to us seeking another opinion, no question about it, we would be going to Mott’s.

Everything that I’ve researched about the facilities and doctors has been great and DeVos feels like the right fit. But, I also know from the heterotaxy community discussion boards, having the right surgeon is the difference between life and death. Are we making the right decisions? I’m not necessarily second guessing myself but there is that little space in my mind that says, if something happens will I be able to forgive myself or would I always think what if? I think a lot is going to ride on how we feel after we meet the surgeon and the neonatologist next week. I hate to think that a decision of this magnitude is left to a gut feeling but ultimately it is.


One thing we know is that Nicholas’ surgeon will be Dr. Haw. His credentials are impressive as he was the chief of congenital cardiovascular surgery at the University Hospital of Southampton for the last 15 years and is the current chief at DeVos. Everything I’ve seen and read about him leaves me feeling more confident and I just get the sense from what he is quoted in saying that he seems to be a genuinely great person not just a great surgeon. I think that would make the overall experience better if we are able to communicate openly with someone that we feel comfortable with. After all, we are in it for the long haul and know we will need multiple procedures done by this person.

I’m hoping to get the exact list of issues that we are facing in regards to Nicholas’ heart. I’m not entirely sure where on the spectrum we are as far as complexity goes with heart defects either and that is also something I’d like to get a feel for. Our appointment with Dr. Haw is next Thursday April 30th at 1:00. We also have a back to back appointment with Dr. Beaumont who is the Neonatologist which is also going to be critical part of our future.

There is such gravity to this upcoming appointment. It is one of the biggest moments and the first fork in the road on our journey thus far. We are meeting some of the critical team members that we may be entrusting our son’s life to...I’m not sure that anything can prepare you for that.


Categories: April 2015

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