"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Monday, May 21, 2012

Patent Foramen Ovale

When we were adopting Katya, I did much polite requesting to be allowed to speak with one of the orphanage  doctors about Katya. Excuse after excuse was given, and week after week went by without my being allowed to do so.

After much begging, pleading, and finally my putting my foot down so firmly that the facilitator could no longer ignore me (after all, I finally said I was *not* leaving Ukraine until I was allowed a chance to speak with one of the orphanage Doctors, so they finally were motivated to get that over with and done so I would get out of their hair, I guess!) I was finally given a 15 minute translated conversation with a orphanage Doctor. The facilitator's command of English did not reach to a speedy discussion of medical matters, so think how VERY little time I had to receive info! Much, much less than 15 minutes worth of info was all I got! (Yes, I am still very unhappy about how all that was handled, and it's the reason one of many reasons you will not see me encouraging others to use the non-profit group that sent our family to the facilitators who were responsible for Katya's adoption.)

Sadly, Katya's medical file was several inches thick, but there was very little that we found out, and even though I begged and pleaded in English for copies of the info in the file, either that request was not passed on to the orphanage Doctor, or they didn't feel it was important to give us anything much of worth beyond what was required by the USA Embassy.

However, the one thing after much struggle and discussion back and forth and agonizing over how to translate it that we were told was that Katya had a "difference in the stomach of her heart!" To myself, I wondered, "Chamber?!" but I was solemnly assured repeatedly that her "stomach of the heart" was just different than usual, but would never cause any problems in all her life and that Katya didn't need surgery for the "stomach of her heart".

After we got her into the USA, we made sure to repeat this little tidbit to all the Doctors who saw Katya. Everyone of them would listen carefully to her heart, shrug, and then tell us that they heard nothing but a nice, healthy heart. I was always surprised that even when she was going to be given general anesthesia not one person took my little story seriously enough to order an ultrasound of Katya's heart.

It was not until Katya's heart rate began going lower, and lower, and lower still while she was in JHH that finally an ultrasound was ordered after I repeatedly shared that little story with the hospital staff who kept coming around to listen to her perfectly normal, but super-slow heart. Shortly before Katya was moved up to PICU with her heart rate at only 40 to 43 beats per minute, an ultrasound machine was wheeled into her room and and an ultrasound of her heart was done, along with repeated EKG's.

All the testing showed was that the Ukrainian facilitator's attempt to translate the Doctor's information about Katya's heart was actually not that far off. Katya has a Patent Foramen Ovale. You can read more info about it here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002102/   Thankfully it's not anything we need to be very concerned about at this point in her life, and it will hopefully only require occasional monitoring.


Brenda said...

Good for you for putting your foot down, both at the orphanage, and not giving up at the hospital. Mother's always now, we have a sense, a God-given instinct that protects our children. It is wonderful to read how well she is doing.

Blessings to you and yours..Brenda

Milena said...

Is there a way that maybe you could contact the orphanage doctor now, politely asking if they have kept Katya's file and asking for a copy? Now that they see how well she's doing? If you know anyone in country, maybe he/she could help you?

What a relief to hear that you needn't be concerned about Katya's heart right now.