We just got back from Iowa City, where Kevin had his semi-annual “big” checkup for his pacemaker and sedated echo. Everything went well and there were no surprises.
Kevin was a wreck this morning, having to get up and out the door around 6:30am. He always has a cup of milk in the morning, but since he was going to be sedated he couldn’t even have water, so he was crying and asking for his “bup” (cup) every few seconds. He didn’t sleep the whole way to Iowa City, but by the time we checked in at 8am he was doing alright. By the time they started checking his temp, blood pressure, etc after check-in, though, he was a full wreck again. They do their best to not make these kids wait too long, but when you have a starving 2-yr-old seeing lots of doctors and getting lots of things checked, every little wait feels like eternity.
We saw the pacemaker doctor first, and she said his pacemaker is working very well with no signs of trouble and battery life still looking like 2.5-3 years to go. When they do these checks they just hold a small “puck” over his abdomen where his pacemaker is and it communicates wirelessly with the device. This time they had a little stuffed puppy that fit over the puck and he seemed to enjoy that. Since he was still pretty cranky during this, they decided to do the sedation after all, since they were considering trying an echo without it. There was no way that was going to happen.
From there we headed upstairs for a chest x-ray. This one was easier than we’ve had before because he just sat in a chair and did really well, rather than being strapped into a silence-of-the-lambs-style contraption. His lungs looked a little wetter than they expected, but that could be because he was sick last month or because the picture wasn’t very clear. They didn’t seem worried about it and said they’ll look again in 6 months. Kevin got his Thomas the Train sticker and we headed back to the cardiologists.
They did some more general checking up and got the echo machine ready while we gave him his sedation. It’s just two syringes, which he’s used to taking, but since these aren’t banana flavored like his usual meds he fought it. He went down fighting, but eventually succumbed to the sedation and was out.
The echo went well. A guy named Roger did it for us, who has done his at least once before. He’s a great guy and talked to us, explaining everything he saw. He had a new machine that let us see Kevin’s heart in 3-d, too, which was neat but still pretty hard to see what was what. Everything looked good as far as he could tell, and Kevin’s leaky valve was leaking only mildly, so it’s good to know that it’s not getting worse. After the echo they did a quick EKG while he was still asleep. Kevin hates EKG’s because they put about 15 stickers and probes on him and he has to stay still.
Finally the head cardiologist Dr. Law came in and told us everything looked good overall. He upped his Enalapril medicine a little and made a small change to a setting on Kevin’s pacemaker (if you must know, the delay between atrial contraction and ventricular contractions was extended just a bit to give the ventricles more time to fully fill).
Then we were all done, so we just had to wake him up. He was still pretty out of it so it took a while. We removed all his EKG stickers and stuck a cup in his mouth and he slowly came around. He acts a little “drunk” when he wakes up and was slurring his words, asking for “mommy-daddy-cup-byebye”, and almost falling off our laps like he couldn’t keep his head up. He drank some fluid so they gave us the okay to go home.
As we often do after his check-ups, we stopped at McDonalds for a Happy Meal on the way home. Unfortunately Kevin was still out of it and screaming. We had to stop and daddy had to sit in back and hold him for a bit while we ate. He finally fell asleep on the way home and he’s still napping away after his long morning.