· Bi-directional Glenn Shunt ·
11 April 1994 [age 6 months]
We took Victoria to the hospital and had her admitted for a heart
catheterisation to be done the next morning. We thought she would be home
again several hours after the test.
12 April 1994
The catheterisation went very well and the cardiologist got everything he
needed to know. However, a routine blood test showed that Victoria's
hæmoglobin level was now dangerously
high. This was her body's way of compensating for her low blood oxygen level.
She was now at great risk of having a stroke. The cardiologist decided that,
because of this risk of stroke, it was necessary to operate immediately.
She was fit into the surgical schedule two days later and remained in the
hospital until then.
We had always known that the time for surgery would come. We even knew
roughly when in Victoria's life each operation would occur. Still, we
were fairly shocked at the news that it would happen in just two short
days! In retrospect, I'm glad that we weren't given a long time to
prepare for the surgery (worry is a better word than prepare) but, at
the time, we were stunned.
13 April 1994
The day before the operation, we finally met the cardiovascular surgeon
who would do the Big Job. He came in and we had a long talk about
exactly what he was going to do and what the consequences of it would
be. That was another one of those unforgettable conversations that will
likely stay in my mind for many years to come. I signed the dreaded
14 April 1994
The Glenn surgery went very smoothly. It was short - just three hours.
We got in to see Victoria in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), not really
knowing what to expect. Anyone who's seen an ICU knows that it can be
quite an intimidating and humbling place. Victoria was so tiny in her
huge bed. She had many tubes and wires attached to her and was in an
oxygen tent. She looked completely helpless. More striking than
the equipment, however, was the change in her colour. She had pink feet! It
was very apparent. We were extremely pleased at that sight.
14 April 1994 - 23 April 1994
Victoria made a speedy recovery from the Glenn operation. She remained
in the ICU for most of the hospital stay. As with most heart surgeries,
fluid retention by the body was a problem. One of Victoria's lungs
partially collapsed, but it recovered quickly. We found out several years
after the surgery that, during the first three post-operative days, the surgeon
contemplated taking down (undoing) Victoria's Glenn. Still, to us, it
looked like she continually got better throughout this time. She was in
the oxygen tent for some time. She likely would have been home in seven
days, but she caught an intestinal virus in the hospital which made her
quite miserable. She could not keep any food or liquid down. Despite
that, she got healthier and recovered well. She had another heart
catheterisation during this time, just to have a look at how the shunt
was funtioning. The cardiologist was happy with what he saw.
24 April 1994
Finally, on a sunny Sunday, 10 days after surgery, Victoria came home.
She was prescribed two medications,
lasix to be taken for one to
three months, depending on her progress.
Within two days of returning home, she began to eat and drink once
again, having kicked that intestinal bug.