February is National Heart Month, and we want to celebrate the impact you’ve had on the lives of so many children. The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s Medical Center is on track to complete 300 surgeries this year, a 75% increase from the prior year. Your support is making stories, like Addie’s, possible. Here’s how her Mom shared her experience at Dell Children’s:
“I have to admit, during Addie’s first two surgeries I slept through them, aside from the updates. I think I was overwhelmingly exhausted. The Fontan was different; Dell was different. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I walked, paced I should say, ALL DAY. I could barely stand by the time we saw her. From 7:45AM to 9:00PM I walked. I will say most of that day is blurry, but we did have a ray of sunshine throughout the day. Alyssa, Addie’s child life specialist would pop in to check on us and see how we were doing. Any heart family who has been at Dell would know how amazing she is! Most of the day we had the family room to ourselves and I walked out to the healing garden periodically to clear my mind. My nerves were put at ease once we talked to Dr. Mery. I could see how happy he was with the repair. It was different then the other post-surgery talks. He almost seemed pumped up about it and that gave us the relieved feeling we had been waiting for. Overall it was a similar dreadful day as they tend to be, but the welcoming feel from the staff and hospital left me feeling we had made the right decision with Dell.
The child life specialist was just the cherry on top of the personal care we had at Dell. Aside from the three standard surgical, morning, and evening rounds, we had plenty of opportunity to speak with the surgeons or CVICU team because we saw them regularly throughout the day. We got the same amazing team at Dell with a fraction of volume of patients. The continuity of the CVICU team was amazing, and the continuity of the nursing staff was honestly surprising. The same nurses cycled through in our 27 day stay in the CVICU and IMC many times. They weren’t Addie’s nurse over and over, but we had nurses we loved that were never even assigned to her! I felt at ease with the nurses. Maybe it was that I was in my hometown, but I felt familiar with them. Austin is weird and Dell is different. To all the CVICU intensivists, PAs and NPs, thank you for listening to us and giving us a voice in Addie’s care. We know we have the right to decide the course, but we felt we were part of the conversation and that meant a great deal to us.
Austin is weird, but it’s also green. The outdoor courtyards and gardens are hard to miss at Dell. If you are just starting this journey and thinking it’s easy to escape to the hospital air flow– it’s not. I didn’t think I would ever have ducks as friends, but there are two ducks in the healing garden that make perfect walking buddies. They hobbled along and kindly listened to me contemplate how the hell I ended up in the prime of my life talking to animals about my child’s GI problems.
Surgery time is so stressful and you can never really “enjoy your stay,” but we felt like family at Dell. So cliche, I know! But it’s the truth! The point I want to make is that Dell blew us away with the care they provided for Addie. I want parents out there to know that they can feel comfortable taking their kids here and that they might have a better experience at Dell then they did anywhere else. No heart program out there is perfect, but we found Dell to be a well on its way to the top.”
Our supporters are truly changing the lives and little hearts of our community. Thank you!